Back in March 2011, when Google announced that it would bring fiber to the Kansas City homes, that was probably the first time I heard about gigabit for consumer broadband. Since then, the ineluctable question and demand for a better broadband in America has been asked by a new society of avid Netflix binge watchers, work-from-home employees, and always connected students.
Part of the answer to that question came from the government and the regulators who recognized the need for more competition in that space. Part of the answer also came from municipal providers that provide fast and affordable broadband, but who remains a drop in the ocean of the internet subscribers.
However, due to their ubiquitous footprints, the two biggest Internet Service Providers Comcast (with its 22 million subscribers) and AT&T (with its 16 million subscribers) are the ones paving the way for most of the US households to have access to gigabit networks. We wanted to have a short retrospection on how those two giants started to move the needle on the speedometer, city after city, customer after customer.
We present below a timeline that looks at the history of Gigabit roll-outs from not only Comcast and AT&T, but also from a new challenger, Google Fiber. From announcements and press releases to actual deployments, travel through videos, quotes, and statements of where and when ultra-fast broadband started to meet American consumers.
- Google started to stir up the ISP’s nest in 2013.
- AT&T responded especially during the summer of 2014
- Comcast started 2 gig services in 2015.
- Often, after an ISP announces a city, a competitor will announce that it will cover this area too (Kansas City, Austin, Atlanta, etc.).
government / regulator:
- The FCC is strongly calling for competition for faster broadband.
- The FCC is also allowing municipal ISPs to expand their reach.
- President Obama strongly calls for a better internet to enable more jobs, studies, economic activities and acknowledge that some cities in Europe and Asia are examples from broadband.
- Most of the cities announced are large metropolitan areas but in reality, only small parts are being connected.
- It always takes several months between an announcement and an actual deployment because of construction and legal agreements.
- They see advantages for economic development and innovations for their citizens.
- They often sign agreements with only one operator to start rolling out fiber initiatives.
The sources used are the press releases from the different ISPs.