In a precursor to what the Triangle can expect from the North Carolina Next Generation Network, AT&T on Monday sais it is ramping up its “Gigapower” network in Austin, Texas, to gigabit speeds. Plus, Wi-Fi speed will be doubled.

AT&T will build the gigabit-to-the-home North Carolina Next Generation Network in the Triangle and parts of the Triad after winning a contract with the university and city government consortium that is driving the initiative. First deployments are expected to be announced in the near future.

At WRAL TechWire’s “Fiber Transforms the Triangle” conference on Monday at SAS, Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T in North Carolina, spelled out the company’s strategy and goals for the network. She also reiterated AT&T’s plans to offer its U-verse network with GigaPower in other communities outside of the NCNGN coverage area.

What the telecommunications giant is doing now provides a preview of what the Triangle will see even as the region is considered as a possible deployment site for Google Fiber. The two networks are going head-to-head in the Texas capital.

Austin also will be the site of a new “Center for Innovation,” AT&T disclosed. The space, which covers 15,000 square feet, is to serve “as a meeting ground and technology development center for Austin-area application developers, tech leaders, citizens and entrepreneurs – anyone interested in collaborating and designing solutions for a more connected community.” The center is expected to open next year.

AT&T said Monday that its Austin network is being deployed faster than anticipated and that customers in some areas are now “reaching up to 1 GPS” in speed.

As AT&T notes, gigabit speed enables downloads of high-definition entertainment in around 36 seconds and up to 25 music downloads per second.

Its fiber network now covers parts of Austin and several suburban communities.

Wi-Fi speeds “are expected to double” those of other providers, the company added.

While AT&T disclosed no figures, it also said sales “continue to exceed expectations.”

“The response to our U-verse with AT&T GigaPower network validates exactly why we chose Austin as our first fiber broadband market, and why this expansion happened so quickly,” said Dave Nichols, president of AT&T Texas, in a startement. “Austinites have a genuine appreciation for fast and efficient technology. They haven’t let us down and we’re thrilled to serve up even more fiber fast speeds, including over our in-home Wi-Fi network.”

Prices range from $70 per month in a promotion package to $99 per month for gigabit Internet service.

AT&T also is building gigabit networks in Dallas and Fort Worth.