AT&T Inches Toward U-verse ‘GigaPower’ Launch in Austin

AT&T said it will begin to light up U-verse “GigaPower,” an all-fiber network and service platform that will eventually hit speeds of 1 Gbps, in select areas of Austin, Texas, starting next month.

As revealed by AT&T in October, U-verse GigaPower will start at 300 Mbps before accelerating to 1-Gig speeds by mid-2014, about the same time that Google Fiber is expected to start connecting customers in Austin. 

AT&T said the initial deployment will “reach tens of thousands of customer locations” in the Austin area, including neighborhoods such as French Place, Mueller, Zilker and Onion Creek, noting that the launch will be coupled with a new generation of TV services, including “our largest storage capacity DVR,” able to provide whole-home DVR functionality on up to eight TVs.

Borrowing a demand-based approach made popular by Google Fiber, AT&T’s expansion of U-verse GigaPower to more areas heading into 2014 will be influenced by how many Austinites ask for the service using a Web-based voting system.

Customers who sign up for the 300-Meg service will be upgraded to 1-Gig services in mid-2014 for no additional cost, AT&T said. AT&T said it will announce pricing closer to the December launch of GigaPower.

Time Warner Cable has yet to follow suit with a 1-Gig residential  broadband service in Austin, but has been accelerating its deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots. TWC, which delivers fast speeds over fiber to commercial customers, has launched a 100 Mbps residential DOCSIS 3.0 tier in Kansas City, another Google Fiber market, and Los Angeles, with New York City and Hawaii on tap for the end of the year. TWC expects to roll out the 100-Meg service to more markets in 2014, but has not said when it will roll the speed upgrade into Austin.