Today AT&T announced it is in “advanced discussions” with the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) to bring gigabit-speed fiber connections to communities in that state, potentially accelerating the race to deliver gigabit fiber broadband services to residential communities.
AT&T said the proposal would bring fiber deployments in the areas of Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem in North Carolina, delivering speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, packaged with AT&T’s U-verse integrated voice, video, and data service.
The move shows that incumbent telecoms aren’t going to shy away from competing with Google, which has rolled out gigabit fiber in several communities including Kansas City, Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas. Silicon Valley. In February, Google announced plans to invite nine more U.S. cities to work with Google on expansion.
So is the gigabit race on? It certainly looks that way. Verizon has its own fiber services, FiOS, though it operates at speeds slower than a gigabit, typically 100 Mbit/s to 500 Mbit/s.
Wall St. analysts see AT&Ts moves as a positive boost to a number of telecom equipment suppliers, including Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI), ADTRAN (ADTN), Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Calix (CALX), and Dycom (DY). It could potentially spur more fiber development.
“We believe the industry is in the early phase of a multi-year upgrade of consumer broadband services,” wrote Raymond James Managing Director Simon Leopold in a research note on Thursday. “We have called this the ‘The Google Effect’ because at least in part, Google’s efforts have encouraged incumbent operators to move faster than they might have otherwise.”
Raymond James believes Alcatel-Lucent supported Google’s launch in Kansas City and it is the primary supplier to AT&T in Austin and North Carolina. It says that Applied Optoelectronics has exposure to Google’s Austin initiative and will support the WDM PON technology across additional Google cities.
“ADTRAN may be an alternate supplier to AT&T and could be a beneficiary as its program expands,” wrote Leopold. “Calix also supplies 1G solutions and has announced two 1G projects with CenturyLink, one in Omaha, Nebraska and one in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dycom provides construction and engineering services to all of these operators. We believe Google might be 1-2% of Dycom’s sales with CenturyLink and AT&T as its two largest customers.”