Google's fiber crusade rolls on in Austin, sorta

24 January 2014 by Steve Blum
, , , , ,

Some were shouting ‘Texas number one!’

AT&T will, it says, expand the reach of its fiber-to-the-home network in Austin, Texas. The company claimed, in a breathless press release, that uptake of its 300 Mbps service has been more energetic than expected…

“Austin’s response to our blazing fast broadband and enhanced TV services has been incredible and validates why we decided to roll this out in Austin first,” said Dahna Hull, vice president and general manager, Austin, AT&T Services Inc. “Austinites consume data at rates 15 percent to 20 percent higher than the average U-verse user, and the overwhelming adoption of our new U-verse High Speed Internet 300 broadband service confirms that this community also values time and speed.”

Keep a healthy reserve of scepticism in the back of your mind, though. You can’t completely trust press releases that use words like “incredible” and “overwhelming” and don’t give any hard numbers about households reached or subscribers signed up. AT&T isn’t saying anything about how many subs it has for its 300 Mbps service (supposedly to be 1 gig service eventually). The only data point it’s giving out regarding the reach of the FTTH network is that it’s “now available to tens of thousands of customer locations in Austin and surrounding communities”. Since “tens of thousands” can mean, say, 20 thousand and the Austin market has more than 700 thousand households, that’s not very impressive absent real numbers.

The one certain winner so far is Google: AT&T made Austin its first gigabit (or whatever) market because Google put out a press release saying it was the next stop for its FTTH venture. AT&T’s objective is to protect its turf. Google’s objective is to stimulate investment in high speed consumer Internet access. Whoever that does it. Whatever it takes.