AT&T has pulled a Google and announced a "major initiative to expand its ultra-fast fiber network." Like Google, who made a similar announcement back in February, AT&T is looking at some major metropolitan areas, scoping out the logistics, and saying that they could possibly expand to up to 100 cities.
Google's expansion plans eye 9 different metro area (34 communities in all).
"AT&T will work with local leaders in these markets to discuss ways to bring the service to their communities. Similar to previously announced metro area selections in Austin and Dallas and advanced discussions in Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem, communities that have suitable network facilities, and show the strongest investment cases based on anticipated demand and the most receptive policies will influence these future selections and coverage maps within selected areas," says AT&T.
The metro areas that AT&T includes are Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose.
The whole AT&T announcing fiber initiatives right after Google thing isn't new. Last year, when Google announced that they would be bringing their 1 Gbps fiber network to Austin, Texas, AT&T quickly announced that they would do the same.
Karl Bode over at DSL Reports has a warning for anyone who thinks that AT&T is, well, actually doing anything they say they're doing.
Calling AT&T's strategy "fiber to the press release," Bode says:
"Ever since Google Fiber came on the scene, AT&T's response has been highly theatrical in nature. What AT&T would have the press and public believe is that they're engaged in a massive new deployment of fiber to the home service. What's actually happening is that AT&T is upgrading a few high-end developments where fiber was already in the ground (these users were previously capped at DSL speeds) and pretending it's a serious expansion of fixed-line broadband."
He points to this rather telling tidbit from AT&T's announcement:
This expanded fiber build is not expected to impact AT&T’s capital investment plans for 2014.
"At the same time AT&T is promising a massive expansion in fixed line broadband, they're telling investors they aren't spending much money on the initiative, because they aren't. AT&T's focus is on more profitable wireless. 'Gigapower' is a show pony designed to help the company pretend they're not being outmaneuvered in their core business by a search engine company," says Bode.
In other words, Google be scarin' somebody.
AT&T also announced a huge video streaming initiative today, saying that they would invest $500 million into "funding a venture to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services.”
Image via AT&T