Cities in N.C. expect AT&T 1 Gbps service, while Minneapolis subs tap USI Wireless fiber

Cities and towns in North Carolina expect that they will be part of AT&T's (NYSE: T) announced 1 Gbps broadband GigaPower rollout when it starts next year.

The carrier said that it would offer the service to 100 cities and municipalities adjoining 21 metro regions in its 22-state footprint, as long as they met a list of qualifications, including, but not limited to, a willingness to work with the carrier to clear a path for the service.

Nine communities in North Carolina--Apex, Garner, Morrisville, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem--were listed in an AT&T press release as potential landing spots for the new service. Without saying where, AT&T North Carolina President Vanessa Harrison said the service is coming to the state.

"We are going to get it," she told the Triangle Business Journal. "All of this will take place in 2015 or beyond, but we are making preparations today for deployment."

Cities and geographic specifics are still being worked out, along with pricing, the AT&T exec told the newspaper. But those are just details that will be answered in coming months.

Part of the reason for her optimism is North Carolina's public policy attitude.

"We're pretty excited about North Carolina really being on the map here," she said in the Journal story. "We definitely attribute a lot of this to the public policy environment that the General Assembly here in North Carolina has created, which is one that encourages investments and innovation."

In Minneapolis, customers that adjoin fiber optic cables buried by USI Wireless to backhaul its Wi-Fi network are able to tap into 1 Gbps service. The cables, which snake through the city, currently pass about 12,600 homes, and about 6,000 have tapped into the network to choose from 1 Gbps service for about $99 a month, 100 Mbps for $50, or 25 Mbps for $25, Joe Caldwell, CEO of USI Wireless told the Minneapolis StarTribune.

"Most people don't take the 1 gigabit service," Caldwell said. "They don't know what to do with that much speed."

In reality, most USI Wireless customers don't have any option. The majority of its 27,000 residential subs are still Wi-Fi customers, paying about $25 a month for 1 Mbps speeds or $41 for 6 Mbps, the story said.

For more:
- the Triangle Business Journal has this story
- and the Minneapolis StarTribune has this story

Related articles:
AT&T ready to launch ultra-fast broadband in up to 100 cities
Google Fiber signs tentative agreement with Portland, Ore., but local issues will determine outcome
Muni broadband support flaring up again as digital divide widens
AT&T adds 200K U-verse video subs in Q1

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