AT&T Is Following Google Fiber

If AT&T were really interested in its subscribers, it would build its all-fiber GigaPower networks in locations where Google doesn’t already offer all-fiber service. AT&T picked Kansas City even though Google Fiber was already available. AT&T announced it would build an all-fiber network in Austin, Texas the same day and only a few hours after Google Fiber did. AT&T’s strategy is clearly to compete in all-fiber where Google Fiber is or will soon be or might be available.

Google originally said that its objective was to build all-fiber networks in a few cities to show traditional broadband services that it could be done and motivate them to do the same elsewhere. Well, that strategy is working, at least with AT&T but not so far with Verizon or CenturyLink, two old-line telcos from the Bell era.



AT&T: Building the all-fiber network


AT&T announced this week that it will offer its all-fiber network to residences and businesses in Google Fiber footprint — parts of Kansas City, Leawood, Lenexa, Olathe and Overland Park. Later on it will add nearby Independence and Shawnee. AT&T said it has already connected its fiber cables to the outside of many homes and is ready to sign up subscribers.

There are many other similar sized markets that AT&T could have offered the services, markets where Google Fiber is not available. Maybe some more regulation is needed for the all-fiber market.

AT&T’s all-fiber prices are clearly aimed at Google Fiber. It’ll offer 1 Gbps service for $70 a month and a bundle of broadband and basic pay TV is $120 a month. Both rates exactly match Google Fiber. The only thing where AT&T one-ups Google Fiber is that it offers free HBO for three years. AT&T prices are fixed for three years but it only requires a one-year contract. Telephone service, which Google Fiber does not offer because of regulatory concerns, is optionally available from AT&T for $30 a month.

Want privacy when you’re browsing? That’ll cost an extra $29 a month. AT&T said GigaPower subscribers can pay an additional $29 a month to prevent their Web browsing from being tracked. It said it can only offer the $70 rate when it can collect data that help it tailor ads and offers that address subscribers’ interests.

In Baton Rouge, where there is no Google Fiber, AT&T offers these tiers:
Speed in Mbps Monthly
6 $34.95
18 $44.95
18 $49.95 including basic pay TV, one year of Amazon Prime and HBO GO
A one year contract is required for each tier.
These rates are for one particular sub-division.

Interestingly, the FCC no longer considers 18 Mbps as being broadband— and rightly so in this era of 4K video streams, the Internet-of-Things, multiple mobile devices watching online entertainment and such. See:

There are a few differences between AT&T’s all fiber service and Google Fiber:
Service AT&T Google Fiber
1 TB of Cloud Storage no yes
Phone $30/m no
Number of shows recorded simultaneously 8 5
Length of contract 1 2

Time Warner Cable, which Comcast hopes to buy shortly, competes against both Google Fiber and AT&T. Although it has increased the speeds it offers, as have most cablecos even where Google Fiber does not operate, it has not yet started offer 1Gbps service.

AT&T chief Randall Stephenson has said the company will not announce any additional markets where it’ll deploy GigaPower because of possible government actions on Net Neutrality.

There are advantages to having three competitors in the market rather the traditional two — but there is a downside. Both AT&T, with GigaPower …

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