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AT&T wants to know why a town is building a 1Gbps network when it already offers 6Mbps DSL

Published Dec 3rd, 2014 2:10PM EST
AT&T Vs. Municipal Fiber

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Why is one bandwidth-hungry town building its own 1Gbps fiber network for its citizens when AT&T already offers them 6Mbps DSL? That’s the question AT&T would like to ask city leaders in Chanute, Kansas, a small town of roughly 9,000 people that is petitioning the state to allow it to offer greater access to the high-speed fiber network that it built to support town utility operations.

RELATED: The FCC wants states to stop killing municipal fiber networks that put AT&T to shame

The Wichita Eagle reports that AT&T is concerned about this development and “filed to officially intervene in the case and was granted that permission on Tuesday morning” this week.

“Any decision made by the KCC could impact AT&T’s business operations in the area, which is why we asked to intervene in the proceeding,” AT&T told The Eagle. “AT&T remains interested in both broadband issues and the work of the KCC.”

It’s true that a 1Gbps fiber service would definitely impact AT&T’s business operations in the area and likely for the very worse. Ars Technica points out that Chanute would charge citizens just $40 per month for its 1Gbps service, which is a mere $5 more than the six-month teaser rate for AT&T’s 6Mbps service. What’s more, AT&T’s plan includes a hard data cap of 150GB per month and going over that limit will set you back by an additional $10 per month.

Despite AT&T’s interference, Chanute officials don’t think the state will do anything to block their plan, which has already survived a major challenge after activists beat back legislation that would have all but crippled towns’ ability to build their own fiber networks. What’s more, AT&T says that it hasn’t taken an official position on the fiber network and is simply seeking out more information on why the town might be interested in building such a network and how it might impact AT&T’s own DSL business.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.