Gigabuzz without the bits in Austin and Vegas

13 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Not the first time the marketing department has promised the moon.

AT&T and CenturyLink are pumping up the gigabit marketing machine, without much in the way of network infrastructure to back it up.

CenturyLink says it’ll deliver a gigabit to select locations in Las Vegas this fall, without specifics on price or location. The press release does say that its previously announced fiber-to-the-premise service in Omaha will be offering service by the end of the month, but only to “targeted homes and business” customers.

In Austin, AT&T is promising to deliver 300 Mbps by December, although, again, it won’t say where or how much it’ll charge. Upgrades to a gigabit are pimped for sometime in 2014.

CenturyLink and AT&T posted webpages that allow hopeful residents to express interest in a gigabit. It’s an attempt to mimic Google’s fiberhood strategy, but it’s more evocative of Pan Am’s 1969 First Moon Flights Club promotion.

AT&T and CenturyLink can deliver gigabit speeds to commercial customers in sufficiently dense business districts where it’s relatively cheap to pull fiber into the basements of large office buildings, and some new housing developments have also been getting fiber. The Austin and Las Vegas press releases are really just a way to wrap the gigabit label around what’s already there and try to fool us all into thinking we can get it too.

If we just wait long enough. If we don’t sign up for the faster-than-DSL service offered by cable companies while we wait. If we stop renaming towns and holding parades to entice Google to build fiber first.