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FEBRUARY 18, 2014 — When Google decided to venture into the world of superfast broadband, its primary goal was to push existing service providers to start offering gigabit speeds to its customers. Initially the move was met with some resistance, especially from established national companies, but today virtually everyone is in the process of rolling out gigabit speeds because of the demand Google has enticed in the marketplace. Today, Google Fiber is available in Austin Texas, but the service falls short of covering the entire state. A local company based in central Texas, Grande Communications, therefore, has decided to start providing gigabit service itself, aiming to compete with the much larger players in the state, including Google, Time Warner and AT&T. According to the company, it will be launching the service in March 2014 to homes that are already wired to the company's service in the Belmont, Rosedale, Bryker Woods, Pemberton Heights, Tarrytown, Oakmont Heights, and Old Enfield.

The company's infrastructure is going to use fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technology, replacing copper and coaxial connections with optical fiber. The small San Marcos telecommunications company is going to be addressing a need that has been highlighted by the introduction of the Google Fiber network. The benefits of fast broadband speed will translate into better productivity and efficiency for individuals and businesses in central Texas, allowing them to compete globally for products and services. The company also explained that the majority of the installation for its fiber network is going to be aerial, eliminating the need to dig underground conduits. Once the service has been established to the aforementioned customers, the company plans to expand gigabit service to San Antonio and San Marcos. Grande Communications thus looks to be one more competitor in a field that has become less crowded with recent mergers and acquisitions. Grande will offer its fiber service at a better price point than Google and AT&T, with gigabit service at only $65 a month with a $20 installation fee without a contract. According to the company president, the price will decrease when it is bundled with other services the company offers. This is compared to AT&T's $70 a month and Google's initial $300 installation fee.

By Michael Guta TMCnet Contributing Writer