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AT&T delivers on 1Gbps promise in Austin

Austin residents already subscribing to AT&T's super-fast GigaPower broadband service will finally get the 1Gbps speeds they were promised when the service was introduced last year.

An AT&T fiber-to-the-home utility cabinet. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

AT&T has made good on its promise to deliver 1Gbps broadband speeds to customers in Austin, Texas.

The carrier has upgraded its fiber-based GigaPower broadband service to 1Gbps speeds, AT&T said Monday. Customers already subscribed to GigaPower in Austin will automatically see their speeds increase from 300Mbps to 1Gbps at no additional charge. Pricing for the service starts at $70 a month.

AT&T announced the 1Gbps U-verse with GigaPower service in Austin in April 2013 -- within a week of Google's announcement that it would bring the 1Gbps Google Fiber broadband service to Austin for $70 per month.

AT&T launched its GigaPower service, which uses fiber to deliver the broadband service, in December but wasn't initially able to deliver the 1Gbps speeds to end users. Instead it offered a 300Mbps service and promised that an upgrade was coming in 2014. Now, the company is fulfilling that promise.

CNET/Marguerite Reardon

The race to get cities 1Gbps broadband services at affordable, sub-$100 pricing, was started by Google, which first introduced its Google Fiber broadband service in Kansas City, Kansas, in July 2012. AT&T and other companies have answered the challenge. And it looks as though AT&T, more than any other incumbent broadband provider in the market, is hitting the gas on its deployments.

In April, AT&T announced it would expand the 1Gbps GigaPower service to up to 100 candidate cities and municipalities across 25 markets nationwide. So far, the company has confirmed its plans to deploy the service in 27 cities across 11 markets. These cities include Raleigh-Durham, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Charlotte in North Carolina; Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio in Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; and Overland Park, Kansas. The company said more announcements are on the way.

The network upgrade itself is part AT&T's Project Velocity IP investment plan, which is designed to expand and enhance the company's wireless and wireline IP broadband networks, the company said in a statement.

AT&T's pricing of $70 a month service matches the price that Google set as the benchmark in Kansas City. But AT&T's low price tag isn't without strings. Currently, AT&T offers the service for $70 a month to customers who sign a one-year contract and agree to allow AT&T to track their data usage. The price is guaranteed for three years, but customers can opt out of the service entirely or out of the data-usage tracking after a year. Customers who don't want their data usage tracked can get the 1Gbps service for $100 a month. Prices go up when phone and TV service is added to the package.

AT&T is also leveraging the ultra-high speed broadband network to entice wireless subscribers to sign up for its service. In addition to boosting the speeds to the promised 1Gbps level, AT&T is also running a promotion for new or existing GigaPower customers in Austin, who also sign up for a new wireless contract. The company is giving these individuals $100 in credit on their AT&T bill if they sign up for a new AT&T wireless service. The offer begins today and runs through November 8. The company says that customers must have both GigaPower and wireless services for 45 days before they will receive the $100 credit.