French ISP Free upgrades fiber customers to gigabit broadband

Customers using Free's fiber-optic network receive a tenfold download speed increase to 1Gbps as very high-speed broadband becomes a point of competition.

Free is offering gigabit broadband speeds to fiber-optic customers. Also, Free is upgrading those still on unbundled copper networks (shown in red on this map) to 100Mbps VDSL2 network technology.
Free is offering gigabit broadband speeds to fiber-optic customers. Also, Free is upgrading those still on unbundled copper networks (shown in red on this map) to 100Mbps VDSL2 network technology. Free

It's not yet clear how broadly Google Fiber plans to bring its 1Gbps data-transfer speeds to broadband subscribers around the world. But it is clear that high-speed fiber links are becoming a point of competition as French service provider Free announced gigabit broadband service.

The company's high-speed service is available to customers linked to its fiber-optic network, Free announced (PDF). Download speeds are 1Gbps and upload speeds are 200Mbps. Previously, fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) customers got download speeds of 100Mbps.

For those still using copper wires, the company also announced a speed boost through an upgrade from ADSL to VDSL2 networking technology. This will increase download speeds from 28Mbps to 100Mbps for people whose homes are close enough to the network equipment. It's available to customers where service is "unbundled" -- meaning that any service provider may use the link between the network and the customer.

Free also includes 197 TV channels and voice-over-IP telephony in its subscription plans, which has 5.5 million customers. In 2012, it started selling mobile-phone network service and now has 6.1 million subscribers.

Its broadband service costs 30 euros a month, or about $41, for areas with unbundled access and 36 euros, or $49, in areas where it's not unbundled.

Meanwhile, in the US, AT&T announced "GigaPower" broadband in Austin, Texas . It'll run at 300Mbps this year and 1Gbps next year. This development came after Google's announcement that it was bringing its gigabit service to the Texas capital city .

 

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