AT&T upped the ultra-broadband ante by expanding its fiber network inside its footprint and deploying Gfast to multiple-dwelling unit (MDU) customers outside its footprint.
The service provider, which had almost 15.7 million subscribers at the end of June, is extending its all-fiber network to Biloxi-Gulfport, Miss., and Savannah, Ga. That brings AT&T Fiber to 57 metropolitan regions in the US.
In addition, AT&T is increasing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage in more than 60 communities within 20 regions it currently serves with fiber. The service provider declined to break out the amount fiber coverage will increase in areas such as Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami.
The investments allow AT&T to call itself the provider of the largest fiber network inside its 21-state broadband footprint, according to AT&T. It reaches 5.5 million locations (both residential and business) over 57 markets including 1.5 million sites added this year. By the end of 2017, AT&T expects to add another 1.5 million locales for a total of 7 million sites served.
AT&T also today launched a Gfast service that leverages its existing copper wires inside MDUs. The Gfast offering provides speeds of up to 500 Mbit/s in Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle and Tampa. The provider soon plans to expand the service in another 14 markets outside its footprint. These scheduled regions include Baltimore; Cincinnati; Pittsburgh; Washington, D.C.; and Salt Lake City, plus others perhaps before year's end.
As service providers like Frontier have recognized, Gfast allows MDUs to provide residents with speedy broadband without the disruption, expense and time typically associated with fiber. In some cases, MDUs cannot get access to fiber because, for example, they are historical buildings with complex governance that may ban digging. (See Frontier Uses G.fast for MDU Broadband.)
Finally, AT&T predicted it could increase download speeds for Gfast to 1 Gbp/s in the future.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.