AT&T has recently announced that they are expanding their ultra fast internet service to more metros including Goldsboro and Knightdale. These areas are included on top of service in parts of Carrboro, Apex, Chapen Hill, Cary, Durham, Holly Springs, Garner, Raleigh, and Morrisville.
Venessa Harrison, who is the president of AT&T North Carolina, said that there might be more announcements. “I don’t believe we would be making these kinds of investments if we weren’t going to expand,” she said, although she declined to specify which areas in North Carolina could be the next to be connected to the ultra fast internet service. However, she said that the decisions would be made depending on the public policy and consumer demands.
AT&T is targeting areas where there is “a solid investment case.” This means that they like to invest in areas where people like to subscribe and the permitting process is easily accessible. Analysts even say that they tend to target those markets where they are already operating.
When asked about their plans for the gap markets, like Knightdale, for instance, which is not included in Google Fiber’s plans, Harrison admitted that it could be a contributing factor, as AT&T makes use of research to determine the need. Nevertheless, even if the permits are obtained, there is still much work left to do before a house can be connected to the fiber service of AT&T. This is a labor-intensive process and this is the reason it is common in the Triangle to see trucks unloading devices and equipments to dig in the right of ways.
Residential and small business users have started to recognize the power of ultra fast internet speeds and this has led to battle between AT&T Fiber, Google Fiber, Comporium, and Windstream for the local gigabit users. The fastest internet offering from AT&T, called as AT&T Internet 1000, offers speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. This is now available to more than 150,000 homes, small businesses, and apartments in the Triangle, and the total includes 540 plus multi-family properties.
Triangle is one among the forty-four metros in the country where the ultra fast internet service from AT&T is available. Yet, businesses are just understanding on what ultra fast internet services can do for productivity. “Gigabit speed is not yet the norm, but it is something DC74 quotes every month,” said Alan Fitzpatrick, COO of DC74 Data Centers, who provide the infrastructure for gigabit speeds for municipalities, startup centers, banks, marketing companies, and other businesses, but not residential customers or small businesses. “We get requests for gigabit internet on a regular basis.”