The people of Austin, Texas must be flattered with all the attention they’re getting lately. First Google announced that it will build its next Google Fiber network there, and now AT&T has gone and said that it will also build a gigabit Internet network in Austin. According to CNET, AT&T hasn’t announced when the service will be rolled out to Austinites, but we’re guessing the company will push for it to rollout around the same time that Google’s Fiber service makes its debut in mid-2014.
AT&T’s renewed focus on network infrastructure is part of its Project VIP which was announced last November. Project Velocity IP is a three-year, $14 billion endeavor that is meant to expand the company’s 4G LTE network, build fiber-optic networks, and add faster service and increase U-Verse availability. While it’s likely the company was already planning to bring superfast fiber-optic Internet service to the good people of Austin, yesterday’s announcement by Google certainly pushed AT&T’s plans into overdrive.
Austin’s an interesting choice for the first fiber wars to happen. Not only is it the capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas, it’s also the home of the South By Southwest Film, Interactive, and Music festival. The Interactive part of the fest has grown exponentially in the last few years and has helped the city become a hub for tech companies and start-ups. Plus, with Dell located in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin, the town has had tech running in its veins for a while now.
The wooing of Austin is something we could see repeated in the next few years as both companies build up their infrastructure around the country. It is certainly nice for consumers to have a choice when it comes to Internet service providers and we hope that it’ll stir up a price war and drive the cost of superfast Internet down for everyone.