ATT waits until Google announces Fiber to reveal competing service

first_imgGoogle’s Fiber initiative is making waves in Austin, TX. This time it didn’t take long for local competition to respond, however, as hours after the announcement AT&T revealed a plan to deliver their own gigabit fiber internet service.The US lags behind when it comes to the quality its internet service. In fact, the country isn’t even in the top five when rating nationwide internet performance. When you consider the size of the US and the infrastructure needed, it makes sense that deploying something like a gigabit network would take longer than in a nation like Germany or Japan. Google’s Fiber initiative sought to change that, even if it meant resistance from local ISPs. Things are going a little differently in Austin, where AT&T will match Fiber with its own ultra-high speed service.Until this week, there was nothing remotely close to a gigabit connection available to the citizens of Austin. In the same day, only hours apart, the city received two different providers planning to deliver gigabit fiber in the coming months. Google’s Fiber announcement was celebrated by the people of Austin and the local government, while a press release a few hours later revealed AT&T’s intent to deliver the same performance. Even so, in the adjoining press release AT&T noted that “this expanded investment is not expected to materially alter AT&T’s anticipated 2013 capital expenditures.”AT&T didn’t attach any pricing to their announcement. As best we can tell, from the near-free 5MB plan all the way up to the unlimited everything $130 plan, AT&T’s current broadband pricing tiers are not going to be able to compete. Offering gigabit means adjusting AT&T’s entire U-Verse pricing scheme, which currently maxes out $110 per month with TV phone, and 24Mbps down. And the pricing isn’t a fixed rate — it goes up after the promotional periods expire. This obviously won’t work once Google Fiber is in town.While competition is always a good thing, it seems from their statements that it would be easy for AT&T to deliver this service to Austin. If that’s true, and their service rolls out to compete directly with Google, it’s hard not to wonder why AT&T didn’t released speeds even remotely close to gigabit in the past. There are some parts of the US where 150Mbps down is a regularly available, and AT&T wasn’t offering that in Austin, but all of a sudden they have what they need to deliver gigabit fiber to everyone’s homes.last_img

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