AT&T to Expand U-verse With GigaPower Fiber Network to 100 Cities

AT&T, continuing to expand into new industries, hopes to bring its fiber broadband network to 100 more cities.

AT&T, no longer dabbling with trial projects, has announced an initiative to try and expand its "ultra-fast fiber network" and deliver U-verse with GigaPower service to 100 cities and municipalities nationwide.

On its list are 21 major metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Diego and San Francisco.

"We're interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies," Lori Lee, senior executive vice president of AT&T Home Solutions, said in an April 22 statement.

Earlier this year, AT&T began offering U-verse with GigaPower to customers around Austin, Texas—one of three areas in which Google now offers Google Fiber. Earlier this month, AT&T announced it was in talks to do the same in the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions of North Carolina.

With its fiber broadband network, it's promising that network speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second are "within sight."

"How fast is 1 Gigabit?" AT&T asks in its statement. Fast enough to download 25 songs in 1 second, a TV show in less than 3 seconds and an entire online HD movie in less than 36 seconds.

In addition to 1 gigabit Internet speeds, AT&T says U-verse with GigaPower will deliver access to "super-fast WiFi speeds" and the ability to schedule DVR recordings and watch TV shows on more than 30 kinds of smartphones and tablets, in addition to PCs; TV services that include AT&T Total Home DVR; and speeds that will enable small businesses to more easily do things like videoconferencing, back up data remotely in the cloud, and upload, download and share large files.

Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference March 6, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the company has had "terrific success" with its fiber initiative so far.

"We are going to hit 1 million new business locations with fiber this year. … In fact, we have a category, Strategic Services and Business, we call it, and it's basically VPN, Ethernet, fiber-based solutions and IP broadband," Stephenson told the audience.

"That is now a $9 billion revenue stream. Coming into this year, that revenue stream was growing by 10 percent. Exiting this year, it's [going to be] growing at over 17 percent. … So we're very encouraged."

Comcast defended its proposed $45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) before a meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary April 10 by saying that technology companies are quickly evolving and morphing, and companies that are sometimes customers are at other times new rivals.

"The media and communications industry … has evolved into a vastly larger, more complex and multi-faceted communications, media and technology ecosystem, in which a host of sophisticated companies with national and even global footprints, like AT&T, Verizon, DirecTV, Dish, Amazon, Apple, Sony, Google, Netflix and Facebook are increasingly competing against one another for customer attention and loyalty," the heads of TWC and Comcast said in a joint written statement presented to the committee.

To that point, AT&T also announced April 22 that, in partnership with entertainment industry partner The Chernin Group, it plans to invest in, acquire and launch over-the-top streaming video services, which would put it in competition with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other companies whose services, in some instances, now run over its networks.

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