AT&T (NYSE: T) U-verse customers in Austin, Texas, can now access an all-fiber platform that will initially offer speeds of up to 300 Mbps both upstream and downstream but will quickly increase to up to 1 Gbps by the middle of next year.
AT&T's launch of an all-fiber network comes months ahead of Google or Time Warner Cable. Google has said it would launch its Google Fiber product by the middle of next year. At the same time, while TWC has yet to follow suit with a 1-Gig residential broadband service in Austin, it has been accelerating its deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots in the Texas capitol. The MSO's commercial customers can receive speeds of 1 Gig and beyond using its fiber-based platform, and residential customers in Kansas City and Los Angeles can already get speeds of 100 Mbps. Customers in New York City and Hawaii should have the service by the end of the year. TWC plans to roll out its 100-Mbps service in more markets in 2014 but has not said when it will upgrade in Austin.
Meanwhile, U-verse's GigaPower will initially offer two tiers: Premiere, a 300-Mbps service for $70 per month that waives fees for equipment, installation and service activation; and Standard, which also offers 300 Mbps but for $99 per month. Customers who take the Premiere plan and also take U-verse TV will get free HBO (including the HBO Go TV Everywhere service) and HD service for $120 per month; customers who sign up for the 300-Mbps service will be upgraded to 1 Gig for no additional cost when those speeds come online next year.
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