AT&T starts rolling out its Austin FTTH network

AT&T (NYSE: T) has started to deploy its fiber to the home (FTTH) network in Austin over which it will offer its 1 Gbps “GigaPower” data service and U-verse TV beginning in December.

Initially, the service provider will offer symmetrical speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Eligible customers that subscribe to the 300 Mbps tier in December will be able to upgrade to the 1 Gbps speeds when they become available in mid-2014.

Current AT&T mobile customers that sign up for a GigaPower plan will also get 50 GB of free cloud storage.

The service provider said that U-verse with GigaPower service will be rolled out to tens of thousands of customer locations throughout Austin and surrounding areas this year, with additional expansion planned for some time next year.

As part of the FTTH rollout in Austin, AT&T created a new executive position to lead the GigaPower initiative, naming Dahna Hull vice president and general manager, Austin, for AT&T Services Inc.

By announcing specific dates for its 1 Gbps launch, AT&T is showing that it’s serious about competing with upstart providers like Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG), which named Austin as one of its service targets.

Today, the majority of AT&T’s FTTH deployments have been in new housing developments with property owners, including Dewhirst Properties in Knoxville, Tenn., via its Connected Communities unit.

Stopping short of revealing any specific future plans, it appears that the telco sees potential for FTTH in other areas besides Austin.

Randall Stephenson, AT&T's chairman, CEO and president, said during the recent Goldman Sachs 22nd Annual Communacopia Conference that improvements in deployment costs and more cooperation from local municipalities is making it easier for them to consider equipping other communities with FTTH.

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