Some residents in the Kyle-Buda area will have access to some of the fastest Internet speeds on the market.
Grande Communications was the first company to provide gigabit-Internet service in Austin. AT&T followed, and Google Fiber will launch later this year. On Sept. 9 it became the first gigabit-level Internet service provider in the Kyle-Buda area.
"We were able to make changes to portions of our network and deliver that service before any of our competitors do," said Matt Rohre, senior vice president of operations and general manager of Grande Communications. "We wanted to be able to take advantage of that appetite that's out there for much faster Internet service."
The service is available to all of Grande's customers in the Shadow Creek subdivision, which is between Kyle and Buda in the former's unincorporated area.
Rohre said the upgrade was made possible by the "network architecture" already in place. The model of gigabit Internet service Grande is providing in the area is called "fiber-to-the-home," meaning a fiber-optic connection goes out to the side of a customer's home and lasers transmit the information, whether it is Internet, TV or telephone data.
The telecommunications company upgraded the electronics between customers' homes and its serving terminal to provide faster Internet speed, Rohre said.
The service is available for $64.99 per month. Rohre said that unlike some competitors, Grande Communications does not share user data with outside parties. No limits are placed on the amount of data that may be used, and service does not require a contract, he said.
It is unclear whether service will be extended to more customers in the Kyle-Buda area anytime soon. Rohre said that is all part of the ongoing discussions, but the company is fully aware of the demand for faster and more reliable Internet speeds.
He said eventually gigabit services will likely become standard, as Internet usage continues to go up.
"Bandwidth consumption comes close to doubling every year," he said. "I don't see that stopping. I believe over time customers are going to have a need for additional bandwidth, and we are going to be there to provide that."