AT&T challenges Google Fiber, Consolidated with 1 Gbps in the Kansas City area

AT&T (NYSE: T) made it official that Kansas City is the next stop in its ongoing fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) journey, putting it in direct competition with Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Consolidated Communications for fiber-based broadband service.

U-verse with GigaPower will be available in parts of Kansas City, Mo., as well as parts of Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe and Overland Park in Kansas and in surrounding communities located throughout the metro area.

AT&T made a proposal to Leawood City Council in November to bring its service to the city after Google Fiber withdrew its plans, according to a report in the Kansas City Star.

In addition, the service provider plans to expand the service to Independence, Mo., and Shawnee, Kan. However, AT&T has not revealed what parts of Kansas City will specifically be able to first get the service.

Noting that AT&T has been in the Kansas City market for over 100 years and it saw good take rates on its fiber-to-the-node (FTTN)-based U-verse service, John Sondag, president for AT&T Missouri, told FierceTelecom it was a good time to offer the 1 Gbps service as the next extension of its broadband service in the area.

"When we looked at the next phase of our enhancement to our wired network, Kansas City made a lot of sense for us," Sondag said. "We were planning to do this even before Google announced there, but we were looking at all of our markets."

AT&T is offering a series of single, double and triple-play tiers: a standalone $70 a month package; a 1 Gbps and TV bundle for $120 a month and a triple play bundle of U-verse High Speed Internet 1Gbps + TV + Voice for $150 a month.

Sondag said that what sets it apart from its competitors in the area is the ability to offer three tiers to choose from.

"I think we're very aggressive in our pricing and we're offering a single, double and triple play on this 1 Gig service," Sondag said. "I think we bring a lot of value when you combine this with the U-verse TV service."

Similar to its 1 Gbps service in Austin, Texas, and Dallas, consumers that order the $70 a month standalone package have to agree to AT&T's Internet Preferences program. This program allows AT&T to use Web browsing information, including search terms entered and the Web pages visited, to provide customers with relevant offers and ads tailored to their interests.

Unlike Google Fiber, which had to build its network from scratch, AT&T has an advantage in that it can leverage the existing network it has already put in place.

Over the last four years, AT&T has spent more than $825 million in Kansas City to upgrade its existing wireline network, including deploying additional fiber and electronics to deliver higher speed data and video services to customers. The service provider can now extend the existing fiber on the poles to each customer site.

"We do have a network and what gives us an advantage in this is we have an expansive network already there and we can utilize the infrastructure we have as we continue to push the fiber all the way out to the home," Sondag said. "That's why I think we were quicker to deploy than our competitor there."

With the addition of Kansas City, AT&T GigaPower service is available to consumers and small businesses across parts of the Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem markets. AT&T also plans to bring FTTP services up to 100 cities, including 21 new major metropolitan areas.

Upon completion of its acquisition of Directv, AT&T has promised it will expand its FTTP network to an additional 2 million customer locations. All of these 2 million locations are over and above what the company announced in 2014.

For more:
- see the release

Special report: Gigabit Wars: The best prices for 1 Gbps service from ILECs, MSOs and municipal providers

Related articles:
AT&T targets 100 cities for its fiber-based broadband service
AT&T to bring 1 Gbps FTTH service to North Carolina
AT&T to double size of Austin FTTH roll out, sees strong customer demand
AT&T's Stephenson: We'll equip other markets with FTTH

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