AT&T representatives sent out a press release Thursday evening outlining plans to “unveil (a) new technology advancement that benefits consumers and small businesses.”
The major phone and internet service provider (ISP) announced plans to locally launch its GigaPower service in July 2014, which would offer speeds of up to one gigabit per second, about 100 times faster than typical broadband. Sources in the technology industry speculate that AT&T representatives will follow through and announce an official launch date for the service on Monday.
AT&T executives will be joined by elected officials and community leaders for the announcement, 9:30 a.m. at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Mayor Ivy Taylor, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, Tech Bloc Co-Founder Lew Moorman, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Richard Perez are expected to attend.
“San Antonio is clearly a battleground for broadband, and our residents should benefit from this,” a spokesperson for Tech Bloc said. “More access. Enhanced, affordable options. Investments by AT&T in our community and the rollout of new services is great news for our city.”
The timing for such a development would be ripe, coming less than two months after Google Fiber, which will offer the same speed, officially announced that San Antonio will be one of the next cities it rolls out its own fiberoptic system in. As a newcomer to the ISP market, Google has been at a disadvantage. AT&T already has the infrastructure, municipal relationships, and customer base. While Google Fiber has to break ground metaphorically and physically, AT&T is updating and expanding.
“They have not disclosed what the announcement is for, but if it is what we hope, San Antonio will be among the brightest spots on the map for 21st century, competitive infrastructure,” stated Councilmember Ron Nirenberg (D8) on Friday.
Google Fiber has started services in communities in Austin, Provo, Utah, and Kansas City and has identified six more that it will service in the coming years – including San Antonio. Another six are on the list as “potential” Google Fiber cities. GigaPower is live in 15 cities, according to its service map, including Austin and Kansas City. The Dallas-based telecommunications company typically has a larger service footprint.
The advantage of the “fiber race” for customers is competition. AT&T customers that live in cities without Google Fiber pay more per month than customers that have chosen GigaPower over Google Fiber. Typically, customers in cities with both services, like Austin, pay about $70 for gigabit Internet from either company.
In Dallas, where there is no existing or planned Google Fiber network, pricing started at $90 for the up-to-100-megabit Internet service and $110 a month for up-to-1-gigabit Internet service.
*Top image: GigaPower cities; established, upcoming, and potential.