AT&T to double size of Austin FTTH roll out, sees strong customer demand

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AT&T (NYSE: T) plans to double the number of people covered by its GigaPower Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network service this year in Austin after initial sales of the product exceeded its expectations.

Initially providing a 300 Mbps speed tier to eligible customers, AT&T plans to offer 1 Gbps tier at a later date this year. Customers who purchased the 300 Mbps service will be upgraded to the 1 Gbps tier for free when it becomes available.

AT&T's GigaPower service is currently offered to customers in Austin and various surrounding communities, including parts of Bastrop, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Jollyville, Lakeway, Leander, Pflugerville and Round Rock.

In Austin, the service is available in neighborhoods such as Bryker Woods, Cherrywood, French Place, Mueller, Old Enfield, and Tarrytown. The telco plans to extend the service to Zilker, Homestead, North Lamar and other neighborhoods in Austin.

Similar to the approach Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG) and TDS Telecom (NYSE: TDS) have taken to attract residents to sign up for their FTTH services, Austin residents can vote to get the telco to bring the fiber service to their particular neighborhood at AT&T's www.att.com/gigapower site.  

According to AT&T, Austin was chosen as the initial site for its FTTH due to strong U-verse broadband usage.

"Austinites consume data at rates 15 percent to 20 percent higher than the average U-verse user, and the overwhelming adoption of our new U-verse High Speed Internet 300 broadband service confirms that this community also values time and speed," Dahna Hull, vice president and general manager in Austin for AT&T Services, said in a release.

The service isn't without controversy, however. When the GigaPower service was introduced in December, users who signed up for the $70 a month plan had to agree to have their Internet searches tracked by AT&T.

AT&T's expansion plans in Austin pose a near-term competitive challenge to Google Fiber, which won't officially begin rolling out its FTTH service until later this year.

Austin could be just one of many stops on AT&T's FTTH train.

Stopping short of revealing any specific plans, company CEO and Chairman Randall Stephenson has previously said that AT&T will look at bringing FTTH to other markets.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
AT&T's $70 a month FTTH service comes with a privacy catch
AT&T U-verse revenues rise 28 percent to $3.1B, subscribers top 10 million
AT&T to roll out Austin 1 Gbps FTTH service in mid-2014, but pricing not revealed
AT&T's Stephenson: We'll equip other markets with FTTH
Google Fiber comes to Austin, mayor announces

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