AT&T ready to follow Google Fiber trail in Austin, says Stephenson

AT&T (NYSE: T) is more than willing to build its own fiber network in Austin, Texas--as long as it gets the same terms the city is offering to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for its vaunted 1 Gbps buildout.

Randall Stephenson, AT&T

Stephenson (Image source: AT&T)

"We will probably piggyback on the rules and terms and conditions that Google received in Austin and do our own build in Austin," Randall Stephenson, AT&T's CEO said during the J.P. Morgan 41st Annual Global Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Conference in Boston this week, according to a story in CNET.

Google's plans for the city are similar to its Google Fiber plans elsewhere. It will build out fiberhoods--neighborhoods with fiber-to-the-home service--based on customer demand.

That's not usually the way things go for AT&T as the incumbent provider. Cities generally require incumbents--both cable and telco--to commit to municipal-wide deployments of new technology. The goal is reasonable: stop service providers from cherrypicking elite neighborhoods with deep-pocketed residents. Google Fiber, from the start, has been able to avoid those kinds of restrictions, although it has been held to some requisites such as serving public buildings.

If AT&T gets that kind of break, it's willing to put up the money and put in the fiber, Stephenson said.

"I think you are going to see that begin to manifest itself around the United States and in not just AT&T and Google," he said. "You will see others doing this because the demand for really high-speed broadband via gigabit fiber-based solutions on a targeted basis is going to be very, very high. The key is being able to do it in places where you know there is going to be high demand and people willing to pay the premium for those types of services."

For more:
- CNET has this story

Special Report: The rising stars of wireline in 2013

Related articles:
Google Fiber names Gladstone, Mo. as its next FTTP destination
Google, AT&T promise high-speed race in Austin