April 21, 2014 — AT&T’s accouncement that it’s eyeing 21 new metropolitan areas – almost a third of which overlap with cities being considered for Google Fiber expansion – shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When Google announced it would be bringing its gigabit service to Austin last year, it only took AT&T two hours to respond with its own similar plans. While Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, San Antonio, San Jose and Raleigh-Durham (which is already in advanced discussions with AT&T) wait to see if either or both tech titans will select their city for gigabit service. Austin provides a model of what might happen as the super high-speed race heats up.
In Austin, as Google and AT&T worked to ramp up and roll out their service, the two companies initially tangled over utility pole usage, a conflict largely driven by regulations in the city of Austin related to pole ownership and usage. The dispute was eventually settled privately, however, and Austin residents should be able to access lightening-fast Internet speeds from either provider in the coming months. AT&T has already begun selling the service, according to its website, and Google has promised a mid-2014 rollout. Prices have not yet been announced for Google’s Austin service, but in Kansas City its plans run $70 a month for Internet only and $120 for Internet and TV, the same as GigaPower’s Austin options. AT&T also offers its “triple play” option, which includes phone service, for $150 a month. Oddly enough, though, neither titan will be the first to bring gigabit to Austin; some area residents may already be aboard the gigabit train thanks to Grande Communications, a small service provider that rolled out its own super high-speed option months before its bigger competitors. It seems we’ll have to wait and see if any smaller Nashville companies follow Grande Communications’ lead to get a jump on their competitors. By Eleanor Kennedy Staff Reporter - Nashville Business Journal © 2014 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.