Don’t be surprised if you are a Triangle resident – even in Durham, a non-AT&T market in the old telco days – and you see an AT&T crew touting “Gigapower” logos on shirts or trucks in the near future.

The telecommunications giant is wasting no time in rolling out a fiber-optic network as part of the North Carolina Next Generation Network. First big deadline is Oct. 1 when 100 community access sites across the Triangle and Triad will be recommended for free high-speed access from AT&T as part of the NCNGN initiative.

With all six cities involved now on board, AT&T is rolling – and, of course, the old Ma Bell knows that Google could be a threat. So, too, is RST Fiber which has already targeted Wake Forest for testing. The NCNGN folks are excited. Delivery time is nearing.

Watch out, folks, fiber is coming fast.

AT&T’s current offering for high-speed Internet and entertainment is U-verse. Gigapower is how the company is branding its fiber-based efforts in Austin, Texas – and, soon, the Triangle.

WRAL TechWire asked AT&T’s Josh Gelinas a lot of questions about deployment as soon as news broke this week that Carrboro had signed a fiber agreement with the company. (Signing on earlier were Raleigh, Cary, Winston-Salem, Durham and Chapel Hill. Other NCNGN consortium members are Duke, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.)

Asked about a timeline for rollout, Gelinas would only say: “We already are working on the build plan in each of the six NCNGN cities and towns.”

But that’s progress.

Other questions:

  • What are the next immediate steps for AT&T? When might people expect to see AT&T Gigapower staff aboard trucks/vehicles surveying and planning?

AT&T planned to start the build process within weeks each time a respective NCNGN community ratified the agreement. The process is at varying stages across the six communities, with permitting steps just now getting under way in Carrboro.

Of course, in five of the six NCNGN communities, AT&T already had an extensive wireline footprint that includes the U-verse network.

Our technicians who work on U-verse, and other AT&T services, already are visible within impacted communities. When their work will shift to GigaPower deployment will depend how fast we complete the permitting process.

  • Has AT&T also struck agreements with the universities involved? If not formal agreements, is there MOU in place with each and/or with NCNGN as parent of the effort?

Conversations are ongoing with the NCNGN to discuss how a fiber platform can further complement the Research Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions.

We’ll share news as we have it.

  • Has AT&T already begun selection of sites for WiFi, for government-supported housing complexes and for fiber to business/premises locations?

The proposed plan suggests locations would be identified by the NCNGN and their member cities and universities

  • The Durham project appears to be the largest undertaking in turns of physical requirements given AT&T’s limited presence there as we have discussed. When might work begin or has it begun in Durham/Durham County and if so where?

We already are working on the build plan in the city of Durham.

Want to know more about the NCNGN project? Visit the consortium’s website for lots of information.