AT&T plans to offer Dallas ultrafast service

03/11/2014 12:09 PM

03/11/2014 12:09 PM

Dallas is the next city on AT&T’s list slated to get U-verse with GigaPower, an ultrahigh-speed service, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference last week.

Stephenson said that the company will expand to additional cities with the fiber-to-the-premises-based service after achieving promising results in its initial buildout of the symmetrical 300 megabit-per-second service in Austin.

AT&T competes with Time Warner Cable and a number of smaller cable operators in North Texas. The second-largest U.S. cable operator offers a top residential speed of 75 Mbps in the city.

The company plans to launch the GigaPower service in its headquarters city this summer. Deployment targets in the market will be chosen through online voting, with residents asked to express their interest in the ultrahigh-speed service.

In Austin, market adoption of the high-speed service, which the company plans to boost to 1 gigabit per second this year, has been very encouraging, Stephenson said. “We are so encouraged that we want to begin taking this to other communities,” provided the company can get favorable terms and conditions from local governments, he said.

Referring to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Stephenson pointed to “a new competitor, a new structure in the industry” that is driving the company to be “a little more aggressive and assertive in deploying that technology around the country.”

Although it provides fiber-fed multi-gigabit service to commercial customers through its Time Warner Cable Business Class unit, Time Warner has not yet followed Comcast’s lead in leveraging its Ethernet-based commercial services to offer residential speeds as high as 500 Mbps.

To compete in Dallas, Time Warner Cable will need to do more than it has in Austin, where its only public response to gigabit competition from AT&T and Google Fiber has been to expand the availability of its Wi-Fi network.

And while Stephenson did not specifically mention Dallas in the context of AT&T’s business services, he also noted that the company plans to compete more effectively for enterprise spending as well, saying: “And then as you move into the business space, deploying fiber to business locations, a very aggressive deployment, we are going to hit 1 million new business locations with fiber this year. IP broadband, our Ethernet deployments are going great.”

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