(MCT) July 30--AT&T will expand its super-fast GigaPower broadband network to Charlotte, the company announced Wednesday.
The news comes as Google officials engage in talks with the city of Charlotte over bringing its similarly fast Google Fiber broadband service to the area. Google has said it will decide by the end of this year whether it will launch its service here.
AT&T, like Google, says its all-fiber network will offer upload and download broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.
Current broadband networks offer speeds of about 10 to 20 megabits per second, making the service AT&T and Google offer up to 100 times faster than conventional broadband.
AT&T said its GigaPower service will download 25 songs in one second, a TV show in less than three seconds, and a high definition online movie in less than 36 seconds.
Pricing information and specific locations where the service will be made available in Charlotte will be announced later, AT&T said in a news release. It wasn't immediately clear when the service will be ready.
Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter said the city is pleased to welcome the service.
"AT&T's networks helped us become a hub for international business and banking," he said in a statement. "This new network will move us to the next level in building a vibrant, world-class and globally-connected city."
Google in February announced that Charlotte was one of nine metro areas where it would expand its fledgling Google Fiber network. AT&T in April announced a major push to expand its GigaPower network to 25 new markets nationally, including Charlotte and the cities of Gastonia and Huntersville.
An AT&T spokesman said at the time that Google's consideration of Charlotte didn't impact AT&T's decision to expand in the city.
But analysts say the two corporations are locked in a high-tech battle for supremacy over the budding fiber-optic broadband market.
When Google announced it would bring its Fiber network to Austin, Texas, sometime in 2014, AT&T immediately announced it would bring gigabit service to Austin, too -- and beat Google to the punch by launching it last December.
AT&T at one point tried to block Google from using its utility poles in Austin.
In May, city leaders set forth a plan for bringing a Google Fiber network to Charlotte. They proposed to use 28 small huts encircling the city, and thousands of miles of cable running above and beneath the streets.
Google officials have said they are studying the city's infrastructure, trying to determine where to bury cables and where they should be mounted on existing utility poles.
It wasn't immediately clear whether AT&T is asking for the same or similar accommodations from the city as Google, but in her statement Wednesday, Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina, noted that her company has been serving Charlotte for more than a century.
She praised local political leaders for recognizing the importance of advanced technology, while also noting that "smart public policy decisions, such as adopting competitively neutral local ordinances," can help spur investment in the community.
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