AT&T announced on Thursday that it is now in advanced discussions with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN), a regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation networks to North Carolina. Both are discussing how to deliver Gigabit networking to parts of the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions including Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem.
"The chance to deploy the fastest consumer Internet speeds the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions have ever seen shows how dedicated its policymakers and university and business leaders are to bringing the latest technology to the state," said Venessa Harrison, President, AT&T-North Carolina. "We're encouraged by our conversations with NCNGN and remain committed to investing in our communities and delivering the technology people want."
The plan sees AT&T installing public Wi-Fi hotspots, free AT&T U-verse with GigaPower at up to 100 public sites and an all-fiber network connected to up to 100 business buildings. The plan also includes a free 3 Mbps AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet offer available to 10 affordable housing complexes. The plan would also bring AT&T U-verse to the residents and businesses of Durham for the first time.
AT&T launched U-verse with GigaPower to "tens of thousands" of households in Austin, Texas and surrounding communities in December. Then in January 2014 the company announced that it would expand the fiber network in that area to double the households this year. AT&T plans to expand to Dallas later this year.
U-Verse is AT&T's triple-service package that includes broadband, IP telephone and IP television services. U-Verse is offered in 22 states including Texas, Michigan, California, North Carolina, Florida and more. On October 1, 2013, AT&T began to deploy its 100 percent fiber Internet broadband network in the Austin area, branded U-Verse with GigaPower.
Meanwhile, AT&T's biggest competitor, Google, is creating "Fiberhoods" in Kansas City, Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas. Like AT&T, Google is eyeing the same Raleigh-Durham area in North Carolina along with Charlotte. Other potential cities include Atlanta, Nashville, San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Jose and Portland.
Do we really need all of this speed? Right now the only bottleneck we have in regards to downloading huge files in seconds is our Internet connection. We now have Gigabit LAN connections and Gigabit wireless speeds (802.11ac), but Internet connections that are perhaps 30 Mbps or less (Time Warner calls 20 Mbps "turbo"). Our devices are surpassing the speed of the Internet roadways.
Unfortunately, it will be a long time before everyone has Gigabit Internet speeds. Just watch the progression of AT&T and Google; you'll see that it will be many, many years before Gigabit Internet is in every household.