Community

Louisville residents will soon have access to gigabit Internet connectivity through AT&T.

The service provider announced Monday that Louisville is among 38 metro areas across the U.S. that will soon be connected to its ultra-fast Internet network.

It’s not clear as to when, exactly, the service will be available. AT&T initially launched its GigaPower network about two years ago in Austin, Texas, and has since expanded it to 19 other metro areas, according to the company.

Gigabit connectivity allows users to download handfuls of songs in seconds, as well as television shows and high-definition movies.

Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., touted the announcement as a key tool to help drive the economic vitality of the area.

“The efforts being made in Frankfort and in Louisville to improve the regulatory environment and to encourage investments are helping to open our communities to these type services,” he said in an AT&T news release.

The announcement comes as city leaders are partnering with Google Fiber representatives to hash out plans to bring Google’s fiber Internet network to the city.

Like AT&T’s GigaPower, Google hasn’t offered a timetable for when its ultra-fast network would be available to Louisville consumers.

Ultra-fast Internet is a coveted resource for cities looking to attract and retain talented workers.

Ted Smith, Louisville’s chief of technology and innovation, said recently there isn’t any data yet to back up the claim that ultra-fast Internet leads to a more robust startup business scene. But he said the anecdotal evidence speaks volumes.

Smith gets weekly feedback about people or businesses leaving Louisville for places like Kansas City — a city with Google Fiber — or Cincinnati, a city with higher Internet speeds, he told WFPL recently. And he said cities are beginning to compete against each other regarding who has the fastest Internet.

Here’s a map of the other cities on deck for the AT&T gigabit network. And here’s a look at Google Fiber’s plans.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.