San Marcos-based Grande Communications is making 1-gigabit internet service available to all its customers in Austin and San Marcos starting Tuesday.
All subscribers in Dallas, Midland and Odessa can also get the ultra-fast service now, as well, with the remaining Texas cities the company serves – including Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Waco – expected to follow suit in the next few months.
The service had previously only been available in selected areas where Grande’s network had been upgraded. Grande first rolled out 1-gigabit internet in Central Texas in 2014, ahead of Google Fiber, AT&T U-verse and others.
The area’s largest telecommunications provider, Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable, doesn’t currently offer residential 1-gigabit service.
Grande’s initial rollout reached about a quarter of the 75,000 Austin homes that were wired for Grande service at the time, including residences in the Belmont, Rosedale, Bryker Woods, Pemberton Heights, Tarrytown, Oakmont Heights and Old Enfield neighborhoods.
“More and more people are wanting faster internet so they can consume more content,” said Matt Rohre, Grande’s senior vice president of operations and general manager. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into updating the rest of our network to make that happen.”
One-gigabit residential service is priced at $69.99 per month, Grande says, with no contract and no caps on bandwidth usage.
At 1 gigabit speeds, a user can download 25 songs in 1 second, a TV show in 3 seconds and a high-definition movie in less than 36 seconds, according to data from AT&T.
Rohre says Grande is seeing year-over-year increases in internet usage between 35 and 50 percent. The average home now has 7.8 devices connected to the internet, he said – everything from laptops and tablets to cellphones and even security systems and thermostats. That’s an increase of 64 million devices in just the past year.
Rohre declined to say how much Grande spent to upgrade its network, making 1-gigabit internet available to all subscribers who want it, saying only that it was “a significant investment.”
“Being first with 1 gigabit has worked pretty well for us,” he said. “We want to continue to stay well ahead of the competition.”
Grande is also continuing to extend its reach, Rohre said. Last year, its services – cable, internet and telephone – became available in an additional 18,000 Texas homes. He expects to add at least that many homes this year, as well, with no plans to slow down any time soon.
“We want to significantly expand our footprint over the next three to five years,” he said.
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