As expected, AT&T will be bringing its 1 Gbps service to the Winston-Salem area after city officials there recently ratified an agreement.
Back in April AT&T said it was in advanced talks with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) to light up its GigaPower service in six cities in the state, including Winston-Salem. In addition to the six cities, the NCNGN is comprised of four universities and local business leaders who have banded together to develop high-speed broadband networks in the state.
AT&T said similar ratification agreements were pending with the cities of Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh.
AT&T first launched GigaPower in Austin late last year with a 300 Mbps symmetrical service. Subscribers to that service will automatically be upgraded to the 1-Gig speed when it becomes available sometime this year. AT&T plans on offering GigaPower in Dallas over the summer and is also looking at another deployment in San Antonio. AT&T has previously said it would be expanding its fiber-based 1 Gbps service to as many as 100 additional markets.
AT&T didn’t say if Winston-Salam was launching with the full 1-Gig service or starting out with 300 Mbps, but it expects to start its build out over the coming weeks.
"We're thrilled that Winston-Salem will be in the next round of cities for AT&T's rollout of its U-verse with GigaPower," said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. "Our city has a well-deserved reputation as a technology and medical leader and a network of this magnitude will help take the work underway in both those areas to new levels of innovation and achievement."
Like in Austin, GigaPower will initially be available to parts of Winston-Salem, which generally means areas that have previously expressed an interest in the faster speeds. In the select areas, the service will be available to both residential and business AT&T customers.
"We've already received great input from North Carolinians eager for the fastest available speeds," said Venessa Harrison, President, AT&T-North Carolina. "This ultra-fast fiber build will help foster innovation, enhance education, and encourage growth."
AT&T has developed a plan that would also bring its U-verse to the residents and businesses of Durham for the first time. AT&T U-verse is currently available in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Asheville and surrounding areas.
AT&T said if its plan is approved it will work with business leaders in the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions in regards to how its fiber platform could be used to advance the area’s technology ecosystem. AT&T said it had invested more than $1.6 billion in its North Carolina wireless and wireline networks between 2011 and 2013.
AT&T will compete with Google’s expansion plans in North Carolina, which were announced in February, while Time Warner Cable also has a large presence in the state.
Last year Time Warner Cable bought Charlotte-based DukeNet Communications for $600 million in cash. DukeNet was a regional fiber optic network company serving customers in North Carolina and South Carolina, as well as five other states in the Southeast.
Over the past few years, Time Warner Cable has worked diligently to upgrade its network in North Carolina in order to offer more advanced services to its residential and business customers. In 2012, Time Warner Cable opened the doors on its first national data center in Charlotte, which enabled it to consolidate its video sourcing and infrastructure for data, cloud and phone services and its internal enterprise system. Time Warner Cable Business Class serves its gigabit service to numerous schools in the state across its fiber optic network.
In March, RST Fiber said it was working on a 100-gigabit backbone network using carrier-grade IPv6. The 3,100-mile underground network, which is supplemented by Wi-Fi, stretches across RST Fiber’s home state of North Carolina.