AT&T Rolls Out Super-Fast Fiber Broadband Network

by Aeyne Schriber on June 12, 2014 in AT&T,Fiber Optic

In October of 2013, AT&T announced a new initiative that would bring advanced technologies and connectivity to more than 100 cities during 2014. The company kicked off the project with a roll out of its first gigabit network in Austin, Texas in December 2013.

In line with its goals to expand into new industries, AT&T has started rolling out its super-fast gigabit broadband network known as U-verse GigaPower which is a 100 percent fiber-optic network constructed of the latest communications technologies capable of providing ultra-fast broadband speeds. AT&T began implementation in Austin, Texas in December 2013 making U-verse with GigaPower available to Austin residents with packages starting at $70 per month.

U-verse GigaPower started out with an initial speed of 300 Mbps and will offer Austin residents a free upgrade to broadband speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second in early 2014. In addition to high speed broadband service provided by U-verse with GigaPower, AT&T offered Austin residents a television package that includes a DVR with 1 terabyte (TB) of storage. The device is capable of recording up to 330 hours of television programming with the ability to record or watch five different programs simultaneously.

AT&T also plans to make on-demand programs, live television, and DVR scheduling available on more than thirty tablets and smartphones during 2014. The standard U-verse with GigaPower plan is being offered at $99 per month. If subscribers opt to participate in the Internet Preferences program by AT&T, the standard plan is $70 per month plus, they can have the installation, equipment, and activation fees waived.

The Internet Preferences program tracks the browsing habits of AT&T customers to enable targeted marketing. Customers that participate in the program will be shown by ads relevant to specific websites they visited during a browsing session. Additionally, customers who already subscribe to AT&T wireless have access to free cloud storage for up to 50GB.

AT&T has continued the rollout in 2014 to areas surrounding Austin with an ultimate goal of reaching more than 100 metropolitan cities. Further expansion plans will be based on demand and according to resident votes which can be submitted on the AT&T website. For those of you in the nearby areas who are continually asking how you can speed up your WiFi, you can cast your vote to help bring U-verse with GigaPower to your neighborhood.

The U-verse with GigaPower rollout is an effort to bring ultra-fast broadband to an area that has not been serviced by Google Fiber.

How U-verse with GigaPower Works

At the Morgan Stanley Financials Conference, the Chief Executive Officer of AT&T discussed the company’s success with the new fiber initiative. He also announced the expansion plans for U-verse with GigaPower to the Piedmont and Triangle areas in North Carolina, along with a goal to provide service to more than one million new businesses with a special category of services that provide ultra-fast 1 Gigabit broadband speeds under its Strategic Services and Business package.

The process of U-verse with GigaPower begins at AT&T’s central switching location with an installation method that is different than typical broadband implementation. With conventional broadband installation, AT&T technicians run a fiber-optic cable from the central switching location to a Video Ready Access Device known as a VRAD equipment box. The device provides high definition television services and digital subscriber line access to AT&T customers.

Once the connection is made to the Video Ready Access Device, existing copper wires are used to transmit the signal into your residence. The difference between this type of installation and U-verse with GigaPower implementation is the absence of the VRAD equipment box. The Video Ready Access Device is not necessary when a passive optical splitter is used. The technology allows AT&T to run the fiber line directly to your residence or business which helps to speed up the connection. The end result is a super-fast fiber broadband connection that is capable of downloading a television program in under three seconds, up to 25 songs in just one second, and an entire high definition movie in just under 36 seconds.

If your home has an existing fiber connection, it is necessary for AT&T to perform an upgrade to the electronics in your home in order to install U-verse with GigaPower. This is accomplished using an armored fiber cable to establish the network connection in your home. Then the cable is connected to an ONT (Optical Network Cable) located on the exterior of your house. The connection is completed by using a CAT5e (Category 5e) or CAT6 cable to establish connectivity between the Optical Network Terminal and the residential gateway for U-verse located inside your house.

AT&T has also changed the method they use to expand fiber connections into new neighborhoods. The new method for implementation is easier and faster while enhancing the speed of U-verse with GigaPower. Once a neighborhood is selected, AT&T technicians visit the area to map out the network before forwarding the cable map to the fiber cable company. The company then reviews the design and creates customized cables for AT&T to place on the electrical poles.

The end result is a high quality connection that saves time and money. The connection is better because the process of splicing the cable is completed in the factory instead of by the technicians in the field. Additionally, AT&T says it plans to continue to pilot new methods for quickly deploying networks as the U-verse with GigaPower projects expands into new regions.

U-verse with GigaPower vs. U-verse

For those of you who are asking how U-verse with GigaPower is different from the AT&T U-verse service, the answer is basically faster Internet speeds at up to 1 Gigabit per second. This is up to 100 times faster than the average broadband connection offered to consumers. You also have access to improved television services which include the capability to watch more high definition programs simultaneously, record more programs at the same time, and store more media with the improved DVR storage.

More on U-verse with GigaPower

AT&T focuses on markets in areas where they are already providing services such as broadband connectivity, television, and home phone service. The company is constantly moving forward to identify areas that demonstrate demand and represent strong investment cases. If your area is currently not being considered as a candidate, AT&T is still interested in hearing from your local community leaders by contacting an AT&T external affairs representative.

AT&T is currently offering U-verse with GigaPower to businesses in the Austin area. You can receive updates on services to new markets by joining the mailing list for businesses as well. They are also installing U-verse with GigaPower at the University of Texas.

AT&T has already identified 100 cities and municipalities across the United States which includes over 20 major metropolitan areas. A few of the areas include Chicago, Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, Atlanta, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, St. Louis, and several other major metropolitan cities in the US.

U-verse with GigaPower complements Project Velocity IP which is a three-year investment plan by AT&T announced in 2012. The plan is to expand and improve AT&T wireless and wireline IP broadband networks to meet the increased demand for high speed Internet by AT&T customers. Other goals outlined in Project Velocity IP include meeting customer demand for advanced television services, cloud storage, and new mobile services. AT&T plans to invest more than $22 billion in services enhancement during 2013 and around $20 billion in service improvements during 2014 and 2015.

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