AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is going to compete head-on with Google’s broadband service, Google Fiber, in the ultra high-speed gigabit network market. Today AT&T announced it has started talking to municipalities in at least 21 major metro areas to bring the AT&T U-Verse GigaPower fiber network to these communities.
The U-Verse GigaPower network offers broadband customers 1 gigabit per second downloads. AT&T is expected to start building these networks by the end of the year if the negotiations go well. AT&T has already started to sell 300 megabits per second on a fiber-to-the-home network in Austin, Texas.
AT&T is planning to upgrade its service to 1Gbps download speeds later this year. AT&T already announced it is planning to bring the gigabit broadband service to Dallas and is in advanced talks to deploy the service in the Triangle area of North Carolina.
AT&T is expanding beyond initial deployments and is taking gigabit broadband to as many as 100 municipalities within the 21 metro markets. AT&T will now be facing off against Google Fiber in 14 total markets including Texas, North Carolina, Kansas City, San Jose, and Atlanta. AT&T will also build a network in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, and Houston.
AT&T has not yet announced the pricing for the U-Verse with GigaPower service in the new areas. However, U-Verse with GigaPower in Austin is priced at $70, which is the same as Google Fiber.
Google launched Google Fiber in February 2010 and asked for cities in the country to put together proposals to be selected. Kansas City won the initial bid and Google Fiber has been expanding ever since then. Google Fiber has expanded to Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. Google announced that it is now considering deployment of Google Fiber in 34 additional metro areas earlier this year. Google Fiber initially started out at as a project for testing new business models that need fast connections, but now the company realizes that it could be a big business.