AT&T expands GigaPower to suburban Dallas areas, may boost availability to 100 cities

Continuing the 1 Gbps network rollout it started in Austin, Texas, AT&T (NYSE: T) said it has expanded its U-verse with GigaPower service to several communities in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The expansion brings the number of cities with GigaPower to 12, with five more cities slated to receive the service.

AT&T also said in the release that it's "considering expanding its 100 percent fiber network to up to 100 cities and municipalities across 25 markets."

The latest Dallas-area communities to receive the high-speed broadband service are parts of Farmers Branch, Frisco, Plano, Mesquite, and surrounding areas.

Gigapower has already launched in other parts of the Dallas-Ft. Worth market including Allen, Arlington, Dallas, Euless, Fairview, Fort Worth, Granbury, Highland Park, Irving, McKinney, North Richland Hills, University Park, Weatherford and Willow Park, Texas.

The announcement comes just a day after AT&T released news of further deployments in the Chicago area, where it will compete head-to-head with Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) for both Internet and pay-TV subscribers with its U-verse with Gigapower service. It also rolled out service in the Charlotte, N.C., area earlier this month.

Like Chicago and other areas, U-verse subscribers will have a choice of three types of bundled services, along with locked-in price guarantees ranging from one to two years depending on the service tier.

AT&T is deploying a virtualized GPON strategy in the areas in which it's expanding GigaPower service, according to John Donovan, senior EVP for AT&T technology & operations, at a recent investor conference. The provider is virtualizing the GPON optical network terminals (ONTs) that it deploys in each of its central offices when rolling out GigaPower. The process will reduce complexity and cost of future gigabit deployments, as well as power consumption, Donovan said. "It's close to the customer and it needs to be flexible and it also needs be reliable and efficient, so this is exactly the area where SDN concepts can shine by virtualizing the physical equipment by using less expensive hardware," he said.

The success of the current network buildout has AT&T considering adding GigaPower service to more markets. The carrier also has committed to expanding U-verse with GigaPower to another 2 million customer locations once its merger with DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is approved.

Initially announced as a competitive counter to Google Fiber's rollout in Austin, Texas, in April 2013, AT&T has found  itself in a broadband speed race with other providers in the areas in which it has built out, such as Nashville, where Comcast announced it was one-upping the competition with a 2 Gbps broadband offering.

For more:
- see the release

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