AT&T Follows Google with High-Speed Internet Plans for Austin

Austin is about to get Google’s high-speed Internet network — Google Fiber — which runs 100 times faster than today’s average broadband connection.

Google Fiber is heading to Austin, according to multiple reports. If true, Austin, home of the South by Southwest festival, will become the largest city to receive Google’s superfast, 1-gigabit Internet-and-TV service after Google Fiber’s initial launch in Kansas City, Mo., last year. Photo: Eric Bowers/Flickr

Google Inc.  will roll out a high- speed Internet access service in Austin, Texas, that is more than 100 times faster than some broadband services, posing a challenge to access providers.

Google Fiber is a subsidiary of the search engine giant that’s offers fiber optic Internet connections directly to the customers’ homes.

Google is promising connection speeds up to 1Gbps (a “gigabit”) for $70 per month, which is tens or even hundreds of times faster than most cable or DSL connections. They also offers a bundled TV package for another $50 per month.

The Austin launch would be Google’s first move to expand its “Google Fiber” service beyond Kansas City, Missouri, introduced last year. Google says the Fiber Internet service is 100 times faster than today’s average broadband performance.

“It’s a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital,” Google said on its official blog.

“We’re sure these folks will do amazing things with gigabit access, and we feel very privileged to have been welcomed to their community.”

While Google benefits from consumers spending more time online, the expansion into Web access will compete with cable and telecommunications providers such as AT&T Inc.  And Time Warner Cable Inc.that have built vast networks to deliver Internet services to homes across the country, writes Bloomberg.

AT&T said in a press release Tuesday that it plans to build a gigabit network of its own in the Austin area.

Earlier the same day, a weekend’s worth of rumors were confirmed when Google announced that it plans bring its much-anticipated Google Fiber network to Austin.

“AT&T’s expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives,” AT&T said in a statement.

The No.2 U.S. telecommunications firm did not provide a time frame for its own planned Gigabit network, which it said would not materially alter its anticipated 2013 capital expenditures, reports Reuters.

“AT&T is making the point that they could make a lot more investments in many of their communities, absent the regulatory burdens which every community puts on providers,” said Raymond James analyst Frank Louthan.

Austin City spokesman Doug Matthews said there was no “special incentives” for Google. “The negotiated agreement we had with Google, by state law we’re obligated to provide to anybody else who wants to offer the same service,” Matthews said.

“If AT&T is interested in providing a similar service we’re happy to talk to them about that,” Matthews said. He noted that Google was committed to connect up to 100 public facilities under the terms of the agreement.

According to Examiner, it’s more likely that Google is using Fiber as a testbed for ancillary business endeavors. Google’s core business is selling ads.

On the Internet side of the service, Google Fiber’s privacy policy implies that Google will keep records of every website that their users visit.

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