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AT&T explores expansion of super-fast Internet to as many as 25 metro areas outside Northeast

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - AT

The service, called GigaPower, has a 1 gigabit per second speed that is about 100 times what U.S. consumers typically get with broadband. That means faster video downloads and the ability for more devices to connect to the network without congestion.

AT

A rival offering from Google Inc., known as Google Fiber, is available in Kansas City and is coming soon to Austin and Provo, Utah. Smaller companies and public utilities offer or plan such speeds in a handful of other markets throughout the U.S.

AT

None of the new markets are in the Northeast because AT

Verizon said that although it hasn't seen widespread demand for a 1 gigabit service yet, the rival offerings are indicative of growing demand for super-fast Internet.

Such speeds are common in parts of Asia and Northern Europe, but they are not as prevalent in the U.S., where some rural households are still stuck on extremely slow dial-up services. Internet providers have been reluctant to spend the billions of dollars needed to extend fiber-optic cables into each and every home. The companies have been largely content to use existing, but slower cable TV lines.

Part of the problem is demand: Many applications and tasks that might take advantage of the higher speeds haven't been developed yet. But they won't get developed if the speeds aren't available.

But higher speeds will make a difference as people connect more smartphones and other gadgets to their home networks and expect to watch quality video on them.

Lori Lee, senior executive vice-president for AT

"We see this as where the world is going," Lee said. "We are about skating where the puck is going and not necessarily where it is today."

AT

The new metropolitan areas targeted by AT

In many of these markets, only certain cities and towns will get the service. All told, AT

AT

Cable Internet services typically cost less, but deliver slower speeds. And with most cable services, sending data is typically slower than receiving content, making online backups and video sharing impractical or painfully slow. AT

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/140421/att-explores-expansion-super-fast-internet-100-additional-ci