Southern Dallas Set to Get Wired for Blindingly Fast Internet

Thanks to AT&T, southern Dallas is about to have some of the fastest internet connections in the United States, the company and city announced Tuesday. By next summer, more than 20,000 homes south of the Trinity River and Interstate 30 will be wired for broadband speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second, matching both the fastest speeds offered by AT&T in the country and those of Google's burgeoning Fiber network, which has not yet stepped foot in Dallas.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings praised AT&T for taking advantage of a mostly untapped market and helping grow southern Dallas.

“The core message of GrowSouth is that Southern Dallas is not a charity case, it is an investment opportunity,” Rawlings said at a press conference. “Today, AT&T is seizing that opportunity by bringing its best product to southern Dallas. This will not only benefit home services, it will enhance the way we communicate throughout this region of our city. The demand for speed and connectivity is continuously increasing, and today’s announcement reflects our commitment to support the ongoing public and private investment in the area. Thank you to AT&T for investing in technology that will keep us up to speed all over the city.”

The service, sold under AT&T's GigaPower label, allows users to download "25 songs in 1 second, a TV show in 3 seconds or a favorite HD movie in less than 36 seconds," which is something South Dallas needs, Hardmon Williams III, vice president and general manager of AT&T North Texas, said.

“We’ve moved quickly to bring our ultra-fast internet connection over the AT&T GigaPower network to more locations throughout southern Dallas to connect more customers to the content that matters most, as only an integrated provider can deliver,” Williams said. “The fiber-enhanced speeds will open up new possibilities for technology innovators and businesses, as well as consumers who want faster speeds for surfing, shopping, gaming, social networking, and more.”

Access won't guarantee adoption. In order to get full, 1 Gbps service from AT&T, users have to fork over a minimum of $110 a month. Research from the Federal Communications Commission has shown that the biggest impediment to broadband adoption in areas with low high-speed internet penetration isn't access, it's income. Less than half of all households making less than $25,000 year have broadband compared with more than 95 percent of those households that make more than $150,000. For a household that makes $24,960 a year, the median income of South Oak Cliff's 75216 ZIP code, the AT&T service would eat up about 5 percent of the household's gross income — and that's before accounting for taxes and fees, which aren't included in the price.

The FCC, through it's Lifeline program, provides a $9.25 a month subsidy for low-income internet customers. 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young