AT&T will bring its gigabit internet service to 11 more metro areas in the US, the company announced on Tuesday. According to a press release, the expansion is part of a newly-created umbrella brand called AT&T Fiber, which will explore new technologies for internet connectivity.
"Customer demand for high-speed connectivity is exceeding even our high expectations. Today we're also introducing the AT&T Fiber umbrella brand, which lets us bring ultra-fast internet to even more residential and business customers through a mix of the latest network technologies," David Christopher, CMO of the AT&T Entertainment Group, said in the press release.
Under the new AT&T Fiber brand, AT&T GigaPower will be rebranded as AT&T Internet 1000.
Currently, AT&T offers fiber internet service in 29 US metro areas. The additional 11 will bring the total number to 40, but AT&T said in the press release that they are targeting deployment in 45 total metro areas by the end of 2016. They also said they are planning to hit at least 67 in total sometime in the future.
To see what metro areas are available now, and which areas AT&T currently has underway, check out this map. In terms of the recent expansion, AT&T is targeting the following 11 areas:
- Florida: Gainesville and Panama City
- Georgia: Columbus
- Kentucky: Central Kentucky
- Louisiana: Lafayette
- Mississippi: Biloxi-Gulfport and Northeast Mississippi
- North Carolina: Wilmington
- Tennessee: Southeastern Tennessee and Knoxville
- Texas: Corpus Christi
AT&T said in its press release that it had planned to be in 12.5 million total locations by mid-2019, but if development continues at its current rate, then those plans could be surpassed. AT&T also said that it has connected more than 1 million "incremental business customer locations" to fiber as well.
Along with Verizon Fios and Google Fiber, AT&T is one of the biggest competitors in the fiber internet market. However, Verizon Fios claims coverage in only 12 US cities, and while Google Fiber had expanded rapidly for a while, it was recently reported that the company was cutting jobs amid poor adoption rates.
However, there is another reason why AT&T is aggressively expanding its fiber network—it was ordered to do so by the government. When AT&T purchased DirecTV back in the summer of 2015, the FCC set requirements that AT&T had to build out a fiber network to provide high-speed internet connection to at least 12.5 million people within four years. The idea was that it would increase competition among internet providers and (assumedly) would make it easier for cord cutters in areas where AT&T and DirecTV would no longer be competing.
Regardless of the motivations behind it, AT&T is on track to become the largest fiber internet provider in the US. And, if the market matures and adoption increases, AT&T will be in a strong position as one of the top providers in the country.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- AT&T will be expanding its fiber internet services into 11 more metro areas in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
- AT&T is quickly growing past its biggest competitors, Verizon and Google, and could end up as the top provider for fiber internet.
- The reason AT&T is targeting so many regions is to fulfill requirement set by the FCC during its purchase of DirecTV in 2015.
- Google looks to boost last mile Fiber efforts with wireless broadband (TechRepublic)
- AT&T to Google Fiber: Suck it up, broadband is tough - and get ready to eat our dust (ZDNet)
- Gigabit internet over the air is coming (TechRepublic)
- Google Fiber is forcing its rivals into offering cheaper, faster service (ZDNet)
- Why Google Fiber missed the mark with free internet (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.