AT&T Backs Up Its All-Fiber Bet In Austin

Citing better than expected demand, AT&T said it plans to double number of homes that will have access to an all-fiber network and resulting U-verse with GigaPower (opens in new tab) service in Austin, Texas.

AT&T launched GigaPower last month, initially offering symmetrical speeds of 300 Mbps, and plans to speed up to 1 Gbps by mid-2014, about the same time Google Fiber is slated to start connecting homes to its 1-Gig network.

AT&T said U-verse with GigaPower is now available to “tens of thousands” of customer locations in Austin-area communities such as Bastrop, Cedar Park, Dripping Springs, Jollyville, Lakeway, Leander, Pflugerville, and Round Rock. Within the city, it’s available in several neighborhoods, like Bryker Woods, Cherrywood, French Place, Mueller, Old Enfield, and Tarrytown.

The coming expansion will extend the network to Zilker, Homestead, and North Lamar, and other yet-unnamed neighborhoods in and around Austin, which is also home to incumbent cable operator Time Warner Cable.

Borrowing a page from the Google’s “Fiber Rally” playbook, AT&T is asking residents to influence the fiber upgrade locations by voting on the Web. 

AT&T has not disclosed how many customers have signed up for its all-fiber service.

When purchased as a stand-alone, the Premiere tier of U-verse for GigaPower runs $70 per month and waives fees for equipment, installation and service activation, but does include an agreement under which subscribers agree to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences, (opens in new tab) a targeted advertising program that "may use" the customer's Web browsing information, including search terms and visited Web pages.

The Standard tier for U-verse with GigaPower runs $99 per month, but does not include the targeted advertising component.

According to the product’s fine print, AT&T is fixing the GigaPower service with a monthly 1-terabyte data cap, and charging $10 for each additional bucket of 50 Gigabytes, with a maximum monthly overage charge of $30. Premier tier customers will also be charged an early termination fee of up to $348 if they disconnect before the end of a required one-year term.

AT&T said customers who sign up for either tier will be upgraded to 1-Gig for no additional cost when those speeds come online.