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By Tim McElgunn
June 16— There has been a flurry of high-speed data service news over the last few days.
Google is said to be ready to pull the Fiber trigger in Oregon, Los Angeles is looking to build a municipal network using a public-private model and AT&T is expanding its gigabit footprint—and adding to the list of cities where it offers DSL speeds up to 75 meg.
As Broadband Daily reported last month, Google Fiber posted an ad in Portland, OR on May 20 seeking an Outside Plant manager to “Manage the design and deployment of Google's Fiber to the Home (FTTH) build.” Now, someone involved with Google Fiber's deployment underway in North Carolina has told The Oregonian's Oregon Live website that Google officials “came right out and said Portland is going to be the next [Google Fiber] city”. Google has not confirmed on the report.
If accurate, Google will face competition from Comcast, which plans to roll into Portland with its 2 Gbps GigaPro offer and, possibly, from CenturyLink, which has developed its own gigabit FTTH offer but has not yet officially declared Portland a target market.
In Los Angeles, the City Council has issued a Request for Participants (RFP) seeking expressions of interest from entities interested in deploying a gigabit wireline and Wi-Fi infrastructure within five years. The city is looking for CityLinkLA to also provide free services, including a base level of wireline broadband and a wireless offering in order to encourage broadband adoption among residents that are not currently connected to any form of broadband service.
The city is offering a variety of incentives, including discounted rents on city-owned properties, expedited permitting, and other benefits. The RFP states that the council, “expects each selected Proposer to agree to operate its network consistent with net neutrality as defined by applicable FCC regulations.”
AT&T on Monday announced that “U-Verse with AT&T Gigapower” is now live in select areas of the Charlotte, NC metroplex. The service is not ubiquitous in any of AT&T's twelve Gigapower cities, which now include Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Cupertino, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Nashville, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem.
AT&T does not provide specifics regarding which neighborhoods can expect gigabit access in any given city, so it is not clear whether the AT&T will engage in a street-by-street battle for subscribers with Google Fiber in Charlotte. Nonetheless, as in other cities where Google has deployed its own gigabit fiber-to-the-home service, AT&T prices GigaPower at a discount in Charlotte. Standalone Gigabit data will cost residents $70 per month—or $100 if they opt out of AT&T's “Internet Preferences” tracking and ad program. Base prices in less-competitive markets range from $110 to $120 for Gigapower outside of a bundle.
AT&T is also expanding availability of its 75 Mbps DSL-delivered U-Verse tier. In a blog post, the company says that the higher-speed DSL-fed service will be turned up in 10 additional cities this summer. The company does not provide a schedule for launches in Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus/Tupelo/West Point/Hattiesburg, MS; Gainesville, FL; Little Rock; Monroe, LA; El Dorado, AK; Panama City, FL; Tulsa, OK and Wilmington, NC. According to the post, “Introductory prices for the new speed option start as low as $39.95 a month when bundled with other U-verse services.”
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