Technology

AT&T is bringing gigabit Internet to Prairie Village and Fairway

A contractor lays fiber optic lines for Google in the Kansas City area, just some of the constructions that has led to broadband competition in the market.
A contractor lays fiber optic lines for Google in the Kansas City area, just some of the constructions that has led to broadband competition in the market. The Kansas City Star

In another mark of broadband competition in the Kansas City market, AT&T announced Wednesday that it plans to sell super-speed Internet to some customers in Prairie Village and Fairway.

That news come 10 days after the telecom giant announced it would challenge Google Fiber in the market by selling Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second in Kansas City and its largest suburbs.

Gigabit speeds are almost 100 times faster than what’s available to most American homes. Some neighborhoods in the Kansas City area now have such hookups available from three competitors: AT&T, Google Fiber and Consolidated Communications.

Google appears on a path to be building out the service to the broadest areas — even though it has failed to make deals to come into some suburbs and says it will build only in neighborhoods where enough customers sign up for service. It’s building its network from scratch and has regularly fallen behind its publicly stated goals for deployment.

AT&T already covers much ground in the market, but not all of it. And only some of its U-verse customers will be able to upgrade to gigabit speeds.

Consolidated Communications — formerly known as Everest and SureWest — has had fiber optic lines going to about 20 percent of the 100,000-plus homes it passes in the market. It has the smallest footprint here. It began selling gigabit speeds last fall to homes wired with the glass fibers, although its executives say people are much more likely to opt for speeds of 50 to 100 megabits per second that can save them $30 or more a month over the gigabit service.

All three have priced their gigabit connections nearly identically at $70 a month for stand-alone Internet service.

AT&T’s gigabit offering, however, comes with conditions absent from the competition’s plans. Customers pay $100 a month for gigabit service unless they opt into a plan that allows the company to target advertising based on their usage.

In addition, AT&T comes with data caps of 1 terrabyte per month. That’s far more than most people can use, but Google and Consolidated don’t impose any limits.

To reach Scott Canon, call 816-234-4754 or send email to scanon@kcstar.com.

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