AT&T Starts To Put The Gig In ‘GigaPower’

AT&T said it has cranked up the speed for its fiber-based “GigaPower” deployment in Austin as it now offers symmetrical speeds of 1 Gbps to parts of the city. The upgrade follows the recent launch of 1-Gig services from Grande Communications and the start of Google Fiber's buildout in the speed-crazy market.

AT&T began to light up GigaPower in Austin late last year, starting off with up and down speeds of 300 Mbps, with original plans to ramp it up to 1-Gig by mid-2014. Time Warner Cable, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, has begun to upgrade that will enable it to deliver 300 Mbps (downstream) across the Austin market.

AT&T said “tens of thousands” of Internet users are on GigaPower in Austin, noting that customers will be upgraded to 1-Gig at no additional cost in the coming weeks. Upgrades will occur automatically, the telco said.

Alongside the speed upgrade, AT&T also announced a promo in Austin through November 8 that centers on its wireless service. Austin-area residents who add a new AT&T wireless plan to a new or existing U-verse with GigaPower account or who add GigaPower to an existing AT&T wireless account are in line for a one-time $100 credit on their monthly wireless bill.

In Austin, AT&T is selling GigaPower for $70 per month under a “Premier” plan that waives equipment, installation and activation fees, but requires customers to participate in AT&T Internet Preferences, its targeted Web advertising program. Subs who bundle in U-verse TV will pay $120 per month for a package that includes HBO for 36 months and HD service. AT&T’s “Standard” tier for GigaPower (without the targeted ad piece) goes for $99 per month.

AT&T has committed to deploy GigaPower to parts of several markets in the coming months, with services expected to reach pockets of Dallas/Fort Worth later this summer. AT&T has not announced pricing for its other GigaPower markets, nor said if it intends to follow the Austin blueprint and offer 300 Mbps temporarily before ramping up to 1-Gig.

In addition to Austin, here’s a list of markets currently in-line for GigaPower, alongside the incumbent cable operator in each area:

-Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications)

-Cary, N.C.* (TWC)

-Charlotte, N.C.* (TWC)

-Carrboro, N.C.* (TWC)

-Chapel Hill, N.C.* (TWC)

-Durham, N.C.* (TWC)

-Greensboro, N.C. (TWC)

-Houston, Texas (Comcast)

-San Antonio, Texas* (TWC)

-Overland Park, Kan.* (TWC)

-Nashville, Tenn.* (Comcast)

-Raleigh, N.C.* (TWC)

-Winston-Salem, N.C. (TWC)

*Also a potential buildout site for Google Fiber

In April, AT&T announced it was  exploring an expansion of GigaPower to as many as 100 additional cities across 25 markets. It has also proposed to expand GigaPower to an additional 2 million customers as a condition of its pending acquisition of DirecTV.