As anyone that would actually read a cable company’s blog would know, Google recently announced that it is launching Google Fiber in Austin, Texas – a move that places it in direct competition with us. They’re already in Kansas City, another one of our markets.
Then, AT&T announced that they were also planning to bring 1Gbps fiber service to Austin too.
Let’s just call this what it is: a big, fat chunk of competition. We’re used to that. I know that there’s a dominant perception outside of the industry that we’re a bunch of dinosaurs ignoring our growing rat problem, but that’s not the case.
In every city where we provide service, we face at least two competitors: satellite and the telephone company. In many cities, we face five or six competitors. We’ve been competing since the early ’90s.
Google is a new competitor, and like others, they bring their own special set of challenges for us: they¹re an enormously wealthy company and dominate the search engine business. Good for them.
But also, let’s don’t let our own achievements in this space get lost in all the hoopla. Our engineers created broadband Internet (you can see the napkin here), which quickly evolved to 3 Mbps, 5mbps, and now 100Mbps via DOCSIS 3.0 technology. We help schools, hospitals, and businesses connect with multi-gig speeds over dedicated fiber networks. We just put in our own bid in North Carolina to build a next-gen network with speeds up to 1Gbps, too. You can see that press release here.
It is also worth pointing out that only a small fraction of our residential customers who have DOCSIS 3.0 speeds available to them actually subscribe to the product. Today, our broadband options are designed to meet almost any budget or household need. Also, our broadband network is fully deployed – Google’s isn’t even close. Ars Technica elaborated on that more thoroughly here.
We’re absolutely taking this competition seriously, and we’re not just going to roll over and go out of business here. We’re going to evolve to meet our customers’ needs and offer products that meet or exceed our competition. You can see that today with our recent launch of a next-gen home management and security service in Austin that we call IntelligentHome or the free access our customers have to the nation’s largest WiFi hotspot network. These are just a couple examples of the cool things we do or can do with this growing, powerful network we already have in the ground.
Change can be scary, but it’s ultimately a good thing. Henry Ford once said that the car was bad for the buggywhip business.
Ultimately, competition is good for us. It’s going to make us evolve, change, grow in ways that keep us at the cutting edge. And really, the biggest winner out of all of this will be the consumer. More choice and more options are better for everyone.