It happens all too infrequently in the ISP business, but when it does, it's a beautiful thing. We're talking about good, old-fashioned competition, and that's what Google is getting now that AT&T is upping its fiber efforts
. After Verizon nixed FiOS expansion a couple of years ago, the only real fiber-to-the-home growth has happened in small towns here and there, and lobbyists are working hard to put those to an end. Finally, AT&T is announcing a "major initiative" to expand its fiber network to 100 candidate cities and municipalities across the United States.
The expansion would (in theory) bring 1Gbps access to homes in 21 new major metropolitan areas as well. It's being called U-verse with GigaPower, which also delivers phone and television services should a customer desire. According to AT&T: "AT&T will work with local leaders in these markets to discuss ways to bring the service to their communities. Similar to previously announced metro area selections in Austin and Dallas and advanced discussions in Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, communities that have suitable network facilities, and show the strongest investment cases based on anticipated demand and the most receptive policies will influence these future selections and coverage maps within selected areas. This initiative continues AT&T’s ongoing commitment to economic development in these communities, bringing jobs, advanced technologies and infrastructure."
The list of 21 candidate metropolitan areas includes: Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose. With previously announced markets, AT&T now has committed to or is exploring 25 metro areas for fiber deployment.
It'll still be quite some time before AT&T makes good on the hopes, but at least we're moving in the right direction. With the likes of Time Warner Cable and Comcast set to merge, America is going to be in a pickle without any additional ISP competition to lean on.