As of today, AT&T U-verse became the second Internet provider in Austin to provide gigabit service, beating Google to the punch by a longshot. Using an all-fiber IP network, AT&T is promoting 1GB speeds in both directions – upload and download. That’s a lot of speed.
But what can you do with all that power? That question got us thinking about all the cool Austin-related online activities an AT&T GigaPower connection would enable. Here’s what we came up with…
10. Download every Willie Nelson album in less than five minutes.
Austin has been the home of world famous bands and musicians for decades, from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Spoon. No other musician, however, captures the true spirit of the city more than Willie Nelson. From his first studio album in 1962, “And Then I Wrote,” to this year’s “Band of Brothers,” Nelson has released a total of 82 albums (for brevity’s sake, we’re not including soundtracks or compilations).
If we estimate that each album is about 350MB in size (obviously, each album will vary), the entire collection of albums will be slightly over 28GB. If that’s the case, the download calculator Numion says you could have the entire discography of one of America’s greatest songwriters in about three-and-a-half minutes. That’s less time than it takes Willie to smoke a joint, folks.
9. Pitch your start-up proposal via a lag-free, HD Skype conversation.
Photo: Flickr user “Sustainable Energy,” creative commons licensed
Over the last few decades, Austin has become home to technology companies large and small. So much so, in fact, that’s it’s earned the nickname “The Silicon Hills.” Tech start ups have become as common as live music venues and Tex-Mex restaurants. Now, with faster data speeds and stable fiber connections, these fledgling tech companies have even more tools at their disposal.
Transferring and storing large files of data in seconds rather than minutes and teleconferencing with colleagues and potential investors without fear of lag or disconnection are just a couple of benefits. After all, we wouldn’t want to deprive the world of the next app people use to take photos of their lunch because of a bad connection, right?
8. Watch University of Texas football games on the Longhorn Network with your tablet.
Longhorn fans at UT vs Iowa State, 11/10/2012. Photo: Flickr user Phil Roeder, creative commons licensed
Fans of UT football (and other sports, too, of course) know that having the Longhorn Network in their cable package is the only way to guarantee you don’t miss a single game during the season. It just so happens that U-Verse is one of those services that offers the channel. What if you can’t get near a TV, though? What if you’re, say, in the garage, working on your car? Or in the backyard, grilling or watching your kids play?
If you have a tablet or a smartphone, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Just connect your device to your home’s GigaPower service, download and open the U-Verse app and stream the Longhorn Network (and over 150 other channels, as well) right in the palm of your hand. The faster speeds mean you won’t have to miss a minute of the game because of a crummy connection. Now, if you miss a minute because your daughter wants you to watch her do a cartwheel? We can’t help you there.
7. Stream multiple HD concerts from SXSW, ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest all at once.
Yes, we know. No one is really going to watch all those clips at once — unless they have a GigaPower connection and wanted to, say, stream concerts on different devices all over the house. GigaPower’s data speeds mean streaming devices such as Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire and others will all enjoy lag-free video and quality, high-definition picture on all televisions in the house. It’s almost as good as being at South By Southwest itself, just not as crowded or expensive.
6. Download all 10 of the best films shot in Austin in less than a minute.
On the set of Death Proof in Austin. Photo: Flickr user Jon Roberts, creative commons licensed
Austin is a great city, as we all know, but it’s also very laid back. That makes for a wonderful place to live, and it means we’re totally cool with directors coming here to shoot blockbuster films. With GigaPower, you can set yourself up for the ultimate Austin movie marathon in a matter of minutes. All of the “10 Best Movies Filmed in Austin” that we wrote about recently are available on either iTunes or Google Play, and at around 700MB each for the DVD-quality versions, you’re looking at a download time that comes in just under one minute. Nice.
5. Play hours upon hours of lag free sessions of “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”
Photo courtesy of Electronic Arts
The biggest video game publisher in the world, Electronic Arts, may have been founded in Redwood City, CA, but one of their hottest online games at the moment, “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” was developed here in Austin by a Canadian company called BioWare. “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), has well over 2 million players, so a beefy Internet connection is very helpful. With GigaPower, you can able to play as long as you want without having to worry about lag or waiting for hours to download a patch. The Force is strong with these data speeds.
4. Stream a live HD performance of your band right from your garage.
Photo: Flickr user “raw.tism,” creative commons licensed
According to this study that we just made up, every three out of ten people in Austin are in a band. While in the past, bands would leave their home roots to make a name for themselves in Nashville or New York, it’s not unheard of for bands to relocate to Austin for that very same purpose. Between the numerous opportunities around the city to play live, the exposure that simply just being in Austin during SXSW can provide and the “cool factor” that comes with being an “Austin band”, there are plenty of advantages to trying to jump start a music career here.
If it seems like it’s difficult to get crowds to come out to hear your band play, why not go directly to them? With the speeds and stability that GigaPower offers, your band can simply set up a stage in your garage and, with the right equipment, stream a live performance to anywhere in the world. It’s a relatively easy and inexpensive way to get some exposure and you don’t have to worry about someone throwing a beer bottle at you.
3. Download all 23 episode of “The Real World: Austin” in just over one minute
There have only been a handful of TV shows set in Austin and out of those even fewer were actually filmed here. CBS’s “The Mentalist” is currently set here but, outside of some establishing shots, the show itself is filmed in California. However, in 2005 and 2006, two reality shows set in Austin hit the airwaves. The 2005 edition of MTV’s “The Real World” and A&E’s “Rollergirls”.
Of the two shows, “The Real World: Austin” is the only one available for digital download purchase, but you can still purchase “Rollergirls” on DVD through Amazon.com. The premise is simple: Seven strangers move into a home in downtown Austin that would eventually become the Vince Young Steakhouse. While being filmed 24/7, they are also tasked with producing a documentary about that year’s SXSW festival. In between the interpersonal drama and in-house romantic affairs, the series also makes for an interesting travel guide all over the city. And if each episode is about 300MB, you’re looking at a total download time on GigaPower of just one minute and four seconds. And yes, that is awesome.
2. Have a family reunion online – no matter where the rest of your family is.
Photo: Flickr user “jayneandd,” creative commons licensed
Despite the fact that it seems that everyone and their second cousin are moving here, not everyone is lucky enough to live in Austin. We’re also a very international city, and thanks to the incredible diversity brought to us by the University of Texas, we’ve got lots of folks calling home from time to time.
Thankfully, these days it doesn’t matter if your family is in Dallas or Dubai – all you need is a webcam and you can talk face to face any time you want. And with the speeds provided by GigaPower, your family reunion can feature everyone on multiple cameras, and you’ll get a steady, uninterrupted feed in HD, letting you tell all the clan just how great the weather and food is here and why they should come visit sometime.
1. Save a bunch of money.
Photo: Flickr user Tax Credits, creative commons licensed.
AT&T GigaPower runs $99 a month, but they’ve got a couple of ways to help you save money.
The first is a package called the Premier plan. For $70 a month, not only can you get the exact same service and speeds, but also get all installation and equipment fees waived. It just requires participation in the AT&T Internet Preferences program. Essentially, that means that in exchange for monthly savings on ridiculously fast data speeds, you grant AT&T permission to use your browsing history to send you “relevant offers and ads tailored to your interests.” Customers who don’t already have U-Verse TV service and get GigaPower plus HD TV service including free HBO and HBO GO for 36 months for just $120.
Secondly, If you already have AT&T wireless service, you can sign up for U-Verse and combine the two accounts. By doing so, you’ll be given a $100 bill credit towards your phone service. If you play “Monster Busters” as often as we do, you know that a $100 bill credit can come seriously in handy.
Featured photo: Flickr user pixajen, creative commons licensed.