Competition is good for business, and it appears the broadband market is no exception. The Washington Post noted as much in an article profiling the growing Austin, Texas, Internet service provider competition after Google announced they were bringing their 1 Gbps Fiber service to Austin.
Many cities are clamoring for Google Fiber, which is only available today in Kansas City, with Austin and Provo, Utah, scheduled to be the next cities on the docket. Google also announced that 34 other cities may garner Fiber contracts by the end of the year. Being awarded a contract doesn’t mean those 1 Gbps Internet speeds will be available within the month, but apparently it does put Google’s Internet service competitors into action.
The Austin Broadband Market Gets Interesting
Soon after Google named Austin as one of their cities scheduled to get Fiber, AT&T announced plans to also offer a similar high-speed service to the Texas capital city. While AT&T service is limited to 300 Mbps, the company expects its technology to match Google Fiber’s 1 gigabit speed by the end of 2014. AT&T’s service will cost $99 per month, but a discount to $70 per month is available for consumers allowing AT&T to monitor their usage and serve them targeted advertising.
A local Texas broadband provider, Grande Communications, is trumping AT&T by actually rolling out full 1 Gbps service on the west side of Austin at a monthly price of only $65 — with no Big Brother-esque ad service. While not yet announced, Google Fiber’s price in Austin is expected to match the prices reported in Kansas City and Provo, Utah — $70 per month for 1 Gbps service, with a one-time $30 setup fee.
Those price points are very competitive with many current providers’ 10–20 Mbps service, which is the prime reason many broadband markets want Google Fiber in their town. Adding in the possibility of bandwidth caps from services like Comcast only increases the clamor for Fiber.
With many communities limited in their choice of Internet service providers, it is obvious that competition is a prime factor in building a robust broadband market. Hopefully, Google Fiber’s availability increases over the next few years.
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