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AT&T and BlackRock Partner to Bring Fiber Internet to More People in the US

AT&T says it plans to expand the number of places its fiber network reaches beyond its current 21-state network.

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AT&T will partner with BlackRock to expand its fiber internet network.
Ry Crist/CNET

This story is part of Crossing the Broadband Divide, CNET's coverage of how the country is working toward making broadband access universal.

AT&T and investment giant BlackRock have formed a partnership to expand fiber internet service beyond its current wireline networks, the telecom giant said in a press release Friday. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The joint venture, named Gigapower, will service customers outside of AT&T's 21-state wireline network that primarily covers the southern and midwestern US, as well as California, Florida and Texas. The multi-gig fiber network will deploy to an initial 1.5 million customers. AT&T says that it's committed to serve fiber to 30 million locations by the end of 2025. The press release didn't say to which states or communities Gigapower's service would be expanding.

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"We believe Gigapower's fiber infrastructure designed as a commercial open access platform will more efficiently connect communities across the United States with critical broadband services," said Mark Florian, BlackRock's global head of diversified infrastructure, in a statement. 

AT&T didn't provide additional comment. BlackRock declined to comment further.

Gigapower's formation comes as fiber internet continues to expand across the US. Last year, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, which included $65 billion for broadband and was praised by industry trade groups such as the Fiber Broadband Association

It's also a necessary step in crossing the broadband divide, which has left millions of Americans in more rural areas without access to high-speed internet. This includes ISPs historically redlining low-income neighborhoods, high costs and a dismissal of tribal lands.

AT&T Fiber, which can deliver speeds as high as 5 gigabits per second, is becoming an important line of revenue for the telecom company. Earlier this year, AT&T said it had 6.6 million fiber subscribers with consumer wireline revenue of $3.2 billion in Q2 2022. AT&T Fiber's 1Gbps service costs $80 per month, but there are lower speed options for less.

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