2014: The Year in Gigabit

2014: The Year in Gagabit Internet Residential gigabit Internet service (or at least talk of it) ramped up in 2014, with numerous announcements for planned services and a smattering of actual launches.

For starters, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Fiber's targeting of Kansas City and Austin, TX, set off a maelstrom in those two locales, with Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) announcing, for example, that it will work with the Kansas City government to build out a network and AT&T (NYSE:T) including both cities on its list of municipalities where it plans to deploy its 1 Gbps GigaPower service.

In May, BTR examined how well gigabit is being received and found that according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, a survey of 328 households in five KC neighborhoods showed 42% paying for Google Fiber.

By November, Consolidated Communications (NASDAQ:CNSL) launched its own 1 Gbps service package for $69.95 to all of its Kansas City FTTH customers. The company's fiber network had been in place since 2007, but Consolidated said there was no demand for gigabit speeds until now.

Grande Communications also announced Gigabit service in the Austin area, and by the end of the year had extended its Power 1000 1 Gbps offering to the West Campus, Tarrytown, Old Enfield, Pemberton Heights, Bryker Woods, Belmont, Oakmont Heights, and Rosedale communities as well as the suburb of Buda. Power 1000 costs $64.99.

For its part, by December, Google Fiber had begun its fiberhood signup process in the south and southeast areas of Austin whereby neighborhood pre-registrations will determine the order in which communities will receive the service.

AT&T threw its hat in the Austin ring by initially increasing speeds to 300 Mbps and then in December bumping up those who had opted for the greater capacity to 1 Gbps for no additional charge.

Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), although it has said nothing about launching gigabit in Austin, announced that the city would be one of the first cities, along with Los Angeles and New York, to be part of its TW Maxx program to bring speeds up to 300 Mbps.

Which brings up an interesting point: Of the actual gigabit deployments that had occurred by mid-year, only a few were from cable operators. BTR's Ron Hendrickson wrote in August that Grande, Bright House Networks and Comporium had actually launched a gigabit service. This, he noted, is because the key for cable is DOCSIS 3.1. When gear becomes readily available, cable operators should be able to quickly roll out gigabit across their existing networks, rather than build new FTTH networks.

Since the time of that article, Cox Communications announced the launch of 1 Gbps service to residential customers in Phoenix, and to the Park Place Apartment Homes in Irvine, CA, in December. The company also revealed plans to expand in Las Vegas and Omaha and said that its gigabit rollout plans for Virginia would begin in the town of Chesapeake and expand to new developments across the state. Overall, the company has announced that it will begin market-wide deployment of gigabit speeds to residential customers by the end of 2016.

In the meantime, here is some of the other Gigabit activity that took place in 2014, either on paper or on the ground:

  • AT&T signed gigabit deals in several cities in North Carolina, including Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The telco also announced Gigabit intentions in Nashville; Atlanta; Chicago; St. Louis; Cupertino, CA; and Jacksonville, FL. Deployment of U-verse with GigaPower began in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Gigabit speeds were supposed to be available in Highland Park, University Park, Allen, Arlington, Euless, Fairview, Granbury, Irving, McKinney, North Richland Hills, Weatherford, and Willow Park.
  • CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) rolled out gigabit service to additional communities in Omaha and Las Vegas.
  • Chattanooga's electric utility, EPB, rolled out a fiber-optic network to enable gigabit access to every home in the community. Likewise, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, another electric utility, laid fiber and is offering 1 Gbps to the neighborhoods it serves. In Longmont, CO, Longmont Power & Communications began phase 1 of a six-phase construction cycle to lead to a gigabit fiber network. And in Oklahoma, Bolt Fiber Optic Services, an FTTH subsidiary of the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, will operate a GPON network for 30,000 cooperative members in rural northeastern Oklahoma. Although service was to begin in 2014, the network won't be completed until 2017.
  • Bright House Networks, in conjunction with the Metro Development Group, announced it would be part of building all-fiber communities in Florida that would include gigabit service, automation and security.
  • RST Fiber completed a 3,100-mile fiber network across North Carolina with the intent of offering up to 100 Gbps service to both businesses and residents in both cities and rural communities throughout the state.
  • TDS Telecom (NYSE:TDS) has launched fiber-based 1 Gbps Internet service in Farragut and Halls, TN; St. Marys, GA; Mt. Juliet and La Vergne, TN; Monroe, WI; and in Hollis, New London, Antrim, Bennington, Deering, and Chichester, NH. Access in Henniker, Hillsborough and Hopkinton, NH will be available in 2015.
  • The municipalities of Sandy, OR, and Sebewaing, MI are deploying Calix' (NYSE:CALX) Ethernet Service Access Platform to deliver fiber-based Internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps to residential and business subscribers.
  • Midcontinent Communications announced plans to bring 1 Gbps access to homes and businesses in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota by the end of 2017. The first cities to receive gigabit access will be metro Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks in North Dakota, and Sioux Falls and Rapid City in South Dakota.
  • Silver Star Communications plans to launch 1 Gbps fiber-based service in Jackson, WY, as well as the Teton Valley. The company will expand to other communities, including Thayne, WY, in the coming months.
  • Wave subsidiary CondoInternet will bring 1 Gbps FTTH service to Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood. Construction began in November, and the service was expected to be available some time in December.
  • In December of 2013, C Spire began a plan much like the Google fiberhood model with homeowner pre-registration in nine Mississippi cities. Areas of Horn Lake and Starkville exceeded their targets first, along with the entire town of Quitman and then parts of Ridgeland. C Spire launched engineering and construction phases of its fiber initiative. Since then, C Spire has announced an agreement for a 1 Gbps FTTH network in Jackson, MS.
  • Frontier Communications (NASDAQ:FTR) in October announced it is now offering 1 Gbps service to residential customers in Beaverton, OR. The company announced another gigabit deployment in Durham, NC.
  • Metronet announced it is launching gigabit service in 19 cities and rural communities in central Indiana.
  • Atlantic Broadband is delivering 1 Gbps symmetrical Internet within its Miami footprint, beginning with Indian Creek Village. It is seeking the most interested communities and buildings for next deployments as it works to expand its gigabit footprint in Miami Beach.
  • Summit Broadband is deploying gigabit service in Pelican Bay, FL. The community has 6,500 residents.
  • Cincinnati Bell (NYSE:CBB) began offering Fioptics Internet speeds up to 1 Gbps to its residential customers in September.
  • Canby Telecom, which serves 7,000 customers in the northern Willamette Valley of Oregon, is deploying fiber-based gigabit to the town of Canby, OR, using FTTH technology from ADTRAN.
  • GVTC Communications launched GVTC GigaRegion fiber network in cities of Boerne, Bulverde and Gonzales, TX. GigaRegion is a public/private partnership among GVTC and the three municipalities.
  • GCI announced plans for Alaska's first 1 Gbps Internet service, which is expected to be available in Anchorage by 2015.

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