by BRAD ROLLINS
BUDA — In February, Grande Communications beat its larger competitors to the Austin market with fiber optic Internet that moves data at the breakneck speed of one gigabit per second.
Now the San Marcos-based broadband provider is the first to offer the ultra-fast service in Hays County with its roll out of Power 1000 to about 870 homes in the Buda area.
Twenty times faster than what was commercially available anywhere in Central Texas even a year ago, one-gigabit-per-second Internet can transfer a full-length, high-definition movie in about seven seconds or about 100 mp3s in three seconds.
Google Fiber kicked off the region’s Internet speed arms race in April 2013 with an announcement it would build a network to accommodate one gigabit Internet service in parts of Austin, a service that was intended to be available by mid-2014 but has yet to materialize in working form.
In addition to Grande Communication’s Power 1000 — initially available to about a quarter of the 75,000 homes it services in Austin — AT&T U-verse began offering one-gigabit service last month to customers in Travis and Williamson County. LiveAir Networks, a scrappy rural start-up based in Smithville, offers one-gigabit services to customers in pockets of Bastrop and Fayette counties.
“Expanding to Buda — one of the fastest growing suburbs — is part of Grande’s commitment to providing its customers with the fastest Internet,” said Matt Rohre, who has been named Grande Communication’s interim senior vice president and general manager effective Oct. 1.
Rohre’s written statement did not say when one-gigabit Internet might be available in San Marcos and unincorporated residential neighborhoods off Hunter Road.
A company spokesperson did not answer the San Marcos Mercury’s inquiry about Grande’s one-gigabit Internet service plans in San Marcos. Nor could she say how many homes its hybrid fiber optic network is equipped to service in the Buda area.
According to Texas Public Utility Commission filings Grande Communications is licensed to provide Internet, cable and phone service to the Shadow Creek subdivision between Kyle-Buda and Niederwald. Shadow Creek is platted for 869 home lots, property records state.
COVER PHOTO by CHRIS STANSBURY. SAN MARCOS MERCURY GRAPHIC by BRAD ROLLINS.Email | Print