The competition for high-speed fiber optic Internet is escalating in 13 cities


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The gigabit fiber war just got a little hotter.

Louisiana-based broadband provider CenturyLink said Tuesday that it's expanding its fiber optic service — with speeds of 1 gigabit per second — to 13 new cities. The speeds will be "symmetrical," meaning that users will get the same upload speeds as their download speeds.

Residential fiber service will cost $79.95 when bundled with other services, CenturyLink spokeswoman Linda Johnson said. (By comparison, the publicly owned fiber optic Internet service in Chattanooga, Tenn. costs $70 a month for gigabit speeds, and $57 a month for speeds of 100 megabits per second.)

Gigabit Internet is roughly 100 times faster than the current national average. While most Internet providers are still providing asymmetrical speeds where the download rate is much faster than the upload rate, that's beginning to change; last month, Verizon announced it was rolling out symmetrical speeds for its FiOS customers.

The list of new cities getting CenturyLink residential fiber includes Seattle, Portland, Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando, and Columbia and Jefferson City, Mo. Businesses will be able to take advantage of gigabit service in all those cities, as well as in Phoenix, Tuscon, Albuquerque, Spokane, Wash., Colorado Springs, and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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