AT&T one-ups Charter, Comcast in San Diego, El Paso with 1 Gbps launch

AT&T (NYSE: T) is keeping its foot on the fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) pedal to stay ahead of Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), announcing that it has launched 1 Gbps services for residential and business customers in parts of El Paso and San Diego.

Other than saying AT&T GigaPower is currently available in several apartment complexes in the El Paso area, the telco did not specify what parts of the city will be the first to get the FTTP service.

In San Diego, GigaPower is currently available in nearly 15 apartment complexes, including all properties in the master-planned community of Civita in Mission Valley.

As has been the case with other 1 Gbps launches, the pricing in these two markets differ.

Eligible residential customers in El Paso can purchase the 1 Gbps service for $90 a month, while San Diego customers can get it for $70 a month.

However, customers in San Diego that want the $70 price tag have to agree to let AT&T track their internet usage patterns via its Internet Preferences program.

But residential customers are just one segment that will benefit from these builds.

Taking a holistic view of building out its fiber network, eligible El Paso and San Diego area business customers that are in AT&T Business Fiber Ready buildings can get 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds. AT&T said that more markets for AT&T Business Fiber will come later this year.

Given the size of the state, AT&T has aggressively pushed fiber into 7,600 multi-tenant buildings in California and it will continue to build out to more buildings as customer demands emerge. Between 2013 and 2015, AT&T invested more than $750 million in its San Diego area wireless and wireline networks.

Additionally, AT&T Business Fiber internet service is already available to small businesses in parts of over 180 U.S. cities, making it possible to download and upload at speeds up to 300 megabits per second. The service provider has enabled 1 Gbps over AT&T Business Fiber in various markets.

Rias Muhamed, director of product management for AT&T Business Solutions, told FierceTelecom that a key priority for AT&T Business Fiber will be to expand the reach of its GPON and 1 Gbps services into more buildings in more markets this year based on where it is seeing customer demand.

"Our buildout now is largely around GPON technology and as that buildout happens we'll bring more and more businesses on line as well," Muhamed said. "We also do a reactive process: as new customers are asking for any enterprise-grade services we're building fiber to them."

For those locations where AT&T has already installed fiber, the process to upgrade a customer to 1 Gbps speeds requires nothing more than a change on the Ethernet multiplexer devices at that building.

"Generally, we are rolling out to see if everything works in a controlled fashion," Muhamed said. "There is only software changes and not any significant hardware changes to get there, which is why we can expand it fairly quickly."

For more:
- see the El Paso release
- and the San Diego release

Related articles:
AT&T, Comcast: Special access market is already competitive
AT&T: 40, 100G demand ramps, sees 400G on the horizon
AT&T deepens residential, business 1 Gbps reach in eight markets

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