AT&T now exploring bringing gigabit Internet service to 8 Triangle communities

AT&T announced Monday that it is looking to expand its gigabit Internet service to as many as 21 metropolitan areas and 100 municipalities in the United States.

The company has added three Triangle municipalities – Apex, Garner and Morrisville – to the five that it had earlier targeted for the service. The original five are Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Cary and Durham. AT&T has also added the Charlotte area and Greensboro to its list of target markets in North Carolina.

Including previously announced markets, AT&T is exploring expanding its gigabit Internet service, called GigaPower, to 25 metro areas. The service, which is only being offered only in Austin, Texas, offers download and upload speeds of up to 1-gigabit-per-second. It is offered with AT&T’s U-verse TV service.

Google announced similar plans in February to expand its high-speed Internet and TV service, Google Fiber. The search engine giant has identified the Triangle as one of nine metropolitan areas where it is considering expanding the service. Google expects to decide by the end of the year which markets it will enter.

Six of the eight Triangle cities targeted by AT&T are also being considered by Google. Google has asked the municipalities to work through a checklist of items designed to expedite the construction of a fiber-optic network.

AT&T has reached an agreement with the N.C. Next Generation Network that would allow for similar assistance in rolling out such a network in the Triangle. The network includes Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, as well as several local universities. Last week, the city of Raleigh approved its agreement with AT&T.

AT&T says it will move ahead with expanding its network in markets where there is adequate customer demand and local support.