from the get-off-your-duffs-and-invest-in-awesome-internet dept.
Within hours of Google announcing that Austin, Texas would be the next lucky recipient of its Google Fiber initiative, AT&T released a statement indicating that it was willing to build a high-speed broadband network in the city, too. ‘AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second,’ read the statement. But there’s a not-so-slight catch: AT&T wants whatever conditions Google received from the city of Austin. Google itself has provided precious little guidance about its future plans. ‘We are still in the very early stages of it,’ Google CEO Larry Page told media and analysts during the company’s Jan. 22 earnings call, according to a transcript. ‘Obviously, we are going to a small number of people and so, but we are excited about the possibilities.’ But if Google Fiber keeps expanding, it could compel AT&T and other infrastructure providers to boost their broadband service and offer it on more reasonable terms — nothing like some competition to make things a little better for the collective customer base. In that sense, even if Google Fiber doesn’t expand into a national program (and imagine the costs of that), its existence will still do some larger good.