AT&T's expanded 1 Gbps fiber rollout could go head to head with Google

The company targets 21 new metropolitan areas for new ultra-fast broadband service.

By , IDG News Service |  Networking

U.S. broadband giant AT&T could roll out 1Gbps fiber-optic service to up to 21 new metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, California, the company said Monday.

The company's rollout of its U-verse broadband with GigaPower service will also include television service. AT&T had previously announced plans to build ultra-fast broadband in Austin and Dallas in Texas and in Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The company will work with local leaders and groups to discuss ways to bring the ultra-fast broadband service to communities, the company said in a press release. Communities that have suitable network facilities, and show the strongest investment deals, based on anticipated demand and the most receptive policies, will influence the company's selections, AT&T said.

"We're delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development," Lori Lee, senior executive vice president for AT&T Home Solutions, said in a statement. "We're interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies."

Some of AT&T's targeted cities mirror those selected by Google for deployment of its fiber broadband service. Google has already begun serving Kansas City, and Kansas City is also on AT&T's list. Google also plans to deploy service in Austin, and has listed Raleigh-Durham, San Jose and Atlanta as future possibilities.

AT&T U-verse with GigaPower services are available in Austin and some surrounding communities, and are expected to roll out in parts of Dallas this summer. AT&T first made the services available in Austin and surrounding areas in December 2013 and recently announced it will expand the fiber network to double the households in the Austin area.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced that it is discussing a U-verse rollout with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN), a regional broadband initiative, in the Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham areas. The proposed plan for the North Carolina communities, which requires ratification from the six city councils, outlines fiber deployments in areas where there is demand for ultra-fast broadband and what AT&T called sound policies for investment.

Heather Burnett Gold, president of the advocacy group Fiber to the Home Council Americas, praised AT&T's announcement. "Fiber in the Americas is on fire!" she said in a statement. "Around the world -- but importantly, here in the U.S. -- we are beginning to see fiber to the home treated not as a novelty, but as vital public and private infrastructure."

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