AT&T promised to bring gigabit broadband to Silicon Valley, and more than seven months later it has finally delivered. The carrier recently announced U-Verse with GigaPower is now available in parts of Cupertino, California--albeit for a steep price premium compared to the cost of the GigaPower service in cities with gigabit Internet competition.
GigaPower arrives ahead of Google Fiber, which is available in eight markets across the U.S., but has not yet come to the heart of America's tech industry. Cupertino is best known as Apple's home base, but it's also just down the road from Google's backyard in Mountain View.
AT&T is charging $110 per month for Internet service with speeds up to 1 gigabit-per-second in Cupertino. There's also a lower-priced tier of speeds up to 300 megabits-per-second for $80 a month.
The story behind the story: Google Fiber's absence from Silicon Valley may be good for AT&T, but it appears to be bad for the wallets of Cupertino residents. AT&T is charging Cupertino residents a higher price for GigaPower than in regions of the country where it competes directly with Google Fiber, as Ars Technica first reported. In Kansas City, where GigaPower launched in February, AT&T is charging $70 per month for gigabit Internet--$40 less than the Cupertino price. The story is the same in Austin, and AT&T is already charging $70 in Raleigh, North Carolina where Google Fiber will expand in the coming months.
With the addition of Cupertino, GigaPower is now available in six markets in the U.S., while Google Fiber is in three.
Nine markets is not a huge number, but it's still a big step forward. In late 2013, Google Fiber was only in two markets and GigaPower was just coming to Austin. Outside of those three markets, gigabit Internet in the U.S. was largely the domain of small, local market companies.
Now, we've got AT&T and Google Fiber getting ready to battle it out in two markets with more to come. Google has plans to expand to another five markets and AT&T will expand to another ten. Comcast is also set to get on board with a gigabit service before 2015 is out.
It's still early days, but the gigabit revolution is finally happening in the U.S.--albeit very slowly.