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Faster, faster: AT&T launches 1-gigabit Internet service in South Florida

ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

AT&T Mobility has been hit with a $100 million fine for offering consumers “unlimited” data but then slowing their Internet speeds after they hit a certain amount. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the telecommunications industry, says the company misled consumers with the plans.
AT&T Mobility has been hit with a $100 million fine for offering consumers “unlimited” data but then slowing their Internet speeds after they hit a certain amount. The Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the telecommunications industry, says the company misled consumers with the plans. AP file, 2014

Ultra-fast Internet access is now available in sections of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, AT&T has announced.

U-verse with AT&T GigaPower – with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second – is available to residents and small businesses in parts of Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, Hollywood, Miami and surrounding communities starting at $120 a month, and the territory will continue to expand, said Carlos Blanco-Sposito, AT&T Florida vice president and general manager.

Although this is the first metro region in Florida to receive the service, AT&T has rolled it out in other states and the service particularly appeals to consumers or businesses using the network for online gaming, videoconferencing or streaming. The service is symmetrical so upload speeds are the same as downloads. “It’s going to be the way of the future for consuming data,” Blanco-Sposito said.

How fast is 1-gigabit? Customers can download 25 songs in less than a second, their favorite TV show in about 3 seconds or an HD movie in less than 36 seconds.

“Homes today have a lot of devices and people need more speed to have a better user experience,” Blanco-Sposito said, adding that U-verse GigaPower also offers enhanced TV services. Family members can watch and record up to five HD programs at the same time – “no more fights,” he said.

Consumers in eligible areas can choose from a variety of plans beginning at $120 a month for speeds up to 1 gigabit per second; starting at $150 a month for the service bundled with U-verse TV service; or $180 a month bundled with TV and voice. Installation and equipment are included.

AT&T also offers plans with speeds of 100 megabits per second for $30 less. That is fast enough to download 10 songs in less than five seconds or download an HD movie in six minutes, AT&T said.

AT&T GigaPower was first rolled out in Austin, Texas, in late 2013. That was well-received, and the company announced plans last year for a national rollout of its fiber network to 21 metropolitan areas. Its Florida rollout starts in South Florida and then will move to other areas of the state, said Blanco-Sposito.

Additionally, AT&T said that upon approval of its proposed acquisition of DIRECTV, the company will expand the AT&T GigaPower network to an additional 2 million customer locations.

The ultra-fast service has been on a roll. Comcast announced in April it would be bringing 2-gigabit per second service to most of its customers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach this summer but has not announced prices yet; Comcast expects to start marketing it in Florida very soon, said spokeswoman Mindy Kramer. Atlantic Broadband began offering 1-gigabit service to its Indian Creek customers last summer, and is expanding throughout its Miami Beach service area. And while South Florida is not yet on Google Fiber’s expansion map, the company has been rolling out its 1-gigabit service in selected cities across the country, and announced earlier this year that four cities in the Southeast are in the plans.

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