AT&T today announced that it will be rolling out its GigaPower fiber-based broadband service to 38 additional markets, and that it now has service available in 20 major metropolitan areas. It also announced that it has now passed one million locations with its GigaPower service, and expects to double availability by the end of 2016. The comment below may be attributed to Jan Dawson, Chief Analyst, Jackdaw Research. Jan can be reached at email@example.com or (408) 744-6244.
AT&T’s announcement today highlights its leadership in providing fiber-based broadband services. Despite Google’s pioneering role in launching gigabit services, it’s clear that it’s AT&T and other traditional broadband providers that will provide the lion’s share of gigabit connections in the US, and AT&T has already established a significant early lead. Google’s innovative approach to working with municipalities to extract concessions and incentives paved the way for experienced providers to build networks that would otherwise have been uneconomical to build, and AT&T is taking full advantage, while Google continues to move more slowly to roll out service in its existing markets and launch in new markets. AT&T’s existing scale as a telecoms provider gives it a significant edge in rolling out these services.
Despite today’s announcement, gigabit services still only serve a tiny minority of the total US population, and there’s a long way to go before these speeds reach a significant portion of the United States. In addition, gigabit speeds remain more of a marketing gimmick than a must-have for the vast majority of American consumers, with 30-40Mbit/s perfectly adequate for most households. Alongside these super-fast broadband connections, AT&T and other large providers need to be rolling out faster speeds at those more mainstream rates to the majority of their existing service areas, to provide more meaningful competition there.
An earlier analysis on the subject of AT&T and Google’s fiber rollouts is available at: http://www.beyonddevic.es/2015/07/06/google-fibers-real-innovation/