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AT&T takes on Google fiber, fixin' to give Texans GIGABIT GUNS

1Gbps, to a few people, some of the time

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

America's dominant telco will take on Google in fitting 1Gb/sec broadband in Austin, Texas, engaging in a numbers battle which will delight a few while doing nothing for the majority.

The "GigaPower" service will only stretch to around one per cent of Austin homes, but enables AT&T to match Google's boast of 1Gb/sec broadband which the Chocolate Factory is already selling in Kansas and will soon also be available to a selected subsection of Austin residents.

Austin, get ready to binge-watch television and download shows in seconds, wipe out your online gaming opponents before they see you coming, and communicate with business associates through a high quality video conference call...

... the breathless press release from AT&T reads.

Downloading an HD movie in "less than two minutes" won't help one watch it faster, and wiping out one's opponents has more to do with latency (and skill!) than connection speed, while high-quality video calling hardly needs 1Gb/sec, but advertising does and having a bigger number than the competition matters much more than reaching beyond the richest neighbourhoods.

The neighbourhoods are invited to nominate themselves, but they might wish to pause for a moment as AT&T isn't saying how much the service will cost. Google is charging $70 a month in Kansas, but Google is an advertising giant which doesn't have to make money on the infrastructure – not for a while at least.

Google is also, effectively, a green-field deployment which makes it much more expensive but means it offers everyone the same level of service. AT&T, on the other hand, will be tapping into its existing infrastructure. Not everyone will be able to attain that headline speed, of course. ®

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