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Ultra-Fast Internet Service Launches in Dallas

Earlier this year, AT&T said it was exploring expanding the GigaPower service to more than 100 cities across the U.S.

After months of anticipation, AT&T Inc. is launching its ultra-high-speed broadband service Thursday in the Dallas area.

Upload and download speeds up to 1 gigabit per second are available in parts of Highland Park and University Park. Speeds up to 100 megabits per second are available in parts of Dallas, Fort Worth, Allen, Fairview, Irving, McKinney, Arlington, Euless, Granbury, North Richland Hills, Weatherford and Willow Park.

“This is going to be a really accelerated expansion for us,” said Hardmon Williams, AT&T’s vice president and general manager for North Texas.

He said the initial areas with 100-megabit service should be able to upgrade to 1 gigabit by the end of the year.

AT&T did not disclose the specific areas where its high-speed fiber service, called U-Verse with AT&T GigaPower, is offered. But the company did indicate that it is available only in areas that already receive U-verse, an Internet and television service that is the fastest-growing part of the company.

Pricing will start at $90 a month for the up-to-100-megabit Internet service and $120 a month for up-to-1-gigabit Internet service.

Hardmon said he expects most of the Internet customers to also take the TV service. Bundled packages will be available, the company said.

Hardmon stressed the symmetric speed of the service, allowing users to upload and download content at the same rate.

“This is about the creation of content,” Hardmon said. “That distinction should not be lost.”

Currently, AT&T GigaPower is available only in the Austin area, where executives have said demand has exceeded expectations.

In April, the company said it was exploring expansion to more than 100 other cities across the country. Since then it has committed to providing the service in more than a dozen cities, including Houston, San Antonio, Miami, Nashville and several cities in North Carolina.

Pending approval of its proposed acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T also has said that it will expand GigaPower to an additional 2 million customer locations.

When AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed the GigaPower plans for Dallas in March, he said, “The economics of fiber deployment are really starting to look good.”

Google also plans to deploy ultra-high-speed fiber connections in selected areas, including Austin, which may help explain the pricing differential with Dallas. In Austin, AT&T offers its up-to-1-gigabit Internet service for as low as $70 a month.

AT&T said customers on its GigaPower network will be able to record five TV programs at the same time.

At 1 gigabit, the company said, a customer can download a TV show in less than three seconds and download an HD movie in less than 36 seconds.

Speed is important as the tech convergence makes video, in all of its forms, available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

©2014 The Dallas Morning News

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