At 100 times faster than basic broadband, gigabit Internet presents huge opportunities for businesses and consumers alike. Cities across the United States are petitioning and lobbying for Internet and cable providers to roll out the latest, greatest Internet connection, but the speed of adoption has varied greatly. Some communities were able to take advantage of pre-existing infrastructure, while other cities were challenged by legal barriers preventing gigabit Internet from reaching consumers. Regardless, the still ongoing installation of fiber-optic lines suggests that gigabit Internet is the way of the future.
CNET reports that the latest city-wide fiber network was recently completed in Austin, Texas, by AT&T. U-Verse customers will now have access to 1 Gbps speeds, a substantial increase over the previous 300 Mbps connection. The project began in August and came to a finish on October 13. AT&T also recently announced that the next stop in its fiber-optic tour is the Windy City, according to the Chicago Tribune. The company has yet to release estimates about when the service will be available to the market or how much it costs, but gigabit Internet will likely cost under $100 to keep the service competitive with rivals like Google Fiber. In fact, AT&T has remained enthusiastic about the expansion of fiber-optic Internet service since Google announced it's first gigabit roll-out in Kansas City, in 2012.
Queued up for faster speeds
Minnesota is in line to receive multiple gigabit upgrades. Both national Internet provider CenturyLink and Minnetonka-based provider U.S. Internet have announced fiber-optic projects that are to be completed in 2020, notes the Pioneer Press. The planned roll-out is an expansion of limited gigabit networks already running in Minnesota, spreading access to 1 Gbps speeds across the Twin Cities area.
San Francisco is likewise taking steps to improve its current gigabit infrastructure, says the San Francisco Examiner. The city's Board of Supervisors will soon vote on a proposal that ensures that any trenches dug during roadwork will be simultaneously used to roll out additional fiber-optic cables. City officials hope the strategy will help San Francisco keep pace with gigabit expansions in other cities while reducing construction costs.
Still waiting around
Kansas City was heralded as the portal to the Internet's future just a few years ago. Unfortunately, the city is currently still saddled with basic broadband until as early as next summer, according to The Kansas City Star. In the meantime, Time Warner Cable has had plenty of time to raise average Internet speeds for customers to 50 Mbps. This increased competition is sure to put a damper on Google Fiber's eventual release, especially if additional Internet providers begin setting up fiber-optic shop in the meantime. Few residential customers are in need of 1 Gbps Internet, though this may change as consumers begin downloading 4K resolution movies and other next-generation media files.