Cox takes on AT&T and Google Fiber in 1 Gbps fiber race

Cox Communications has become the latest service provider to announce an intention to launch a 1 Gbps fiber to the home (FTTH) service, a move that will challenge both AT&T (NYSE: T) and Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG), reports Bloomberg.

"We're working on our road map now to bring gigabit speeds to customers this year," Pat Esser, the president and CEO of Cox, said yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Cable Show in Los Angeles, adding that the cable MSO's customers have been asking for faster speeds.

While Cox, AT&T and others don't cite Google Fiber as a threat, it's hard not to overlook the influence the Internet search giant's move has had on the overall broadband market.

Such influence is happening in Texas, where AT&T last year announced it would also deliver a 1 Gbps service only hours after Google Fiber made its plans public for Austin. Later, Time Warner Cable announced it would up speeds for its broadband customers from 50 to 300 Mbps without any additional cost to the customer.

One of the interesting elements of Cox's plan is that it plans to leverage and extend the existing fiber network infrastructure it uses to supply services to businesses and other carriers.

While the cable MSO did not reveal pricing or any specific markets where it would build out FTTH, one market it could target is Phoenix, where it currently has an embedded base of 578,000 subscribers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Esser said what's driving Cox to consider rolling out fiber-based broadband is that like its fellow cable brothers Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), broadband subscriptions continue to rise as its bread-and-butter video base "leveled off" in 2013.

Google Fiber itself cited Phoenix as one of the 34 cities it could target in its next wave of potential deployments, while AT&T said it is planning to bring its GigaPower service to nearly 100 cities and municipalities in the next year.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this article
- here's FierceCable's take

Related articles:
AT&T targets 100 cities for its fiber-based broadband service
Google Fiber to conduct small business pilot in Kansas City
Cincinnati Bell extends 1 Gbps fiber service to The Brandery, sets plan for broader rollout
Google Fiber's Austin launch delayed by permitting process
AT&T to bring 1 Gbps FTTH service to North Carolina