AT&T, Google will face challenge from Grande's $65 1 Gbps offer in Austin

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AT&T (NYSE: T) and Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG) soon won't be the only 1 Gbps fiber to the home (FTTH) game in Austin, Texas, as Grande Communications says it's going to offer its own fiber-based service.

Set to be available to about a quarter of the cable provider's existing 75,000 Austin customers, the new fiber-based service is priced competitively at $65 a month without a contract. Customers who bundle other services such as video and voice will pay even less.  

By comparison, AT&T's 1 Gbps offering, which won't be available until later this year, is $70 a month and requires users to agree to have their Internet activity tracked by the telco. AT&T customers who have signed up for the initial 300 Mbps offering will be upgraded to 1 Gbps when it becomes available.

Google Fiber, meanwhile, plans to start rolling out its own 1 Gbps service sometime later this year.

According to a report in the Austin American Statesman, the service initially will be available to Austin-area customers who are already wired for Grande's service, including the Belmont, Rosedale, Bryker Woods, Pemberton Heights, Tarrytown, Oakmont Heights and Old Enfield neighborhoods. AT&T is also targeting some areas such as Bryker Woods, Old Enfield and Tarrytown for its U-verse with GigaPower 1 Gbps service.

Any new housing developments, including the new Seaholm project, that are wired for its service will also be able to access the 1 Gbps service.

Matt Muprhy, president of Grande, said the service, which is a way to fend off Google and AT&T, would be "a home run" even if only 10 percent of customers purchase it.

Customers who reside outside of the areas where Grande will initially offer the 1 Gbps service will get access to higher speeds at no additional cost. Besides the new 1 Gbps offering, Grande recently introduced four new broadband data tiers: 15, 50, 75 and 110 Mbps.

For more:
- Austin American Statesman has this article

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