Light Reading

AT&T U-verse Steps on Gas

Alan Breznick
8/26/2013
50%
50%

Still playing catchup ball on the broadband field, AT&T Inc. is hiking its top broadband speeds in 40 more markets across the US, including such major metro areas as Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, New Orleans, and Orlando.

AT&T announced Monday that it’s rolling out its new, high-speed U-verse Internet service tier, known as Power, to all these markets after introducing it in parts of California and Nevada late last month. The new Power tier offers downstream speeds as high as 45 Mbit/s, nearly twice as fast as U-verse’s previous top service, and upstream speeds as high as 6 Mbit/s. (See: AT&T Boosts U-verse Speeds in 40 Markets.)

Even with the increase, U-verse still trails badly behind the top speeds of Verizon Communications ’ fiber-enabled FiOS service. In a bold bid for broadband bragging rights, Verizon boosted FiOS’s fastest speeds to 500 Mbit/s downstream and 100 Mbit/s upstream last month, putting it second only to Google Fiber’s symmetrical 1 Gbit/s service in the Kansas City area.

Further, U-verse still trails well behind most of the largest US MSOs, which have all rolled out DOCSIS 3.0 throughout their regions. For instance, Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, Suddenlink Communications, and Mediacom Communications all offer top downstream speeds of at least 75 Mbit/s, and nearly all of them offer 100 Mbit/s or more.

But more speed increases are on the way for U-verse. In its announcement, AT&T said it aims to boost U-verse’s top download speeds as high as 100 Mbit/s sometime in the future.

“We know customers want more speed,” said an AT&T spokesman, noting that the telco will keep extending the speed increases to other U-verse markets “on an ongoing basis” over the coming months. “That’s why we have plans to continue increasing speeds and expand availability of our U-verse offerings as part of our three-year, multibillion-dollar Project Velocity.”

Under Project Velocity, AT&T also aims to expand U-verse’s broadband reach by another 8.5 million homes, increasing its total footprint to 33 million households. The telco ended the second quarter with 9.1 million U-verse Internet subscribers, far more than Verizon’s 5.8 million FiOS Internet subscribers, after bagging a whopping 641,000 new customers in the spring, mainly by converting over more of its rapidly dwindling DSL customer base.

To entice consumers, AT&T is offering the new U-verse Power tier for an introductory price of $49.95 a month when the service is bundled with U-verse TV and voice products. Customers must also agree to two-year contracts. After that introductory period ends, the price will rise to $76 a month.

Current, eligible U-verse Internet residential customers can also upgrade their packages to the new service and receive $10 off their monthly bills for the next year.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
8/27/2013 | 1:01:27 PM
Re: Still Lagging Behind
So it sounds like we could end up with a new digital divide, but this time in the wireless rather than the wireline space. Just what the nation needs, eh? How far do you think Google Fiber will go with its FTTP networks? think they'll be a real nationwide threat to the cable ops and telcos? Also, do you think AT&T and Verizon might overbuild each other someday? 
Carol Wilson
100%
0%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/27/2013 | 10:22:08 AM
Re: Still Lagging Behind
Excellent point. Especially when you consider that the areas still dependent on DSL and phone lines are the exact same areas where LTE is not pervasive and will be more expensive to deliver. 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2013 | 10:17:00 AM
Re: Still Lagging Behind
Well, the push to deregulate is ever present, but they've been taking a slightly new deregulatory strategy in many states over the last year or two with a focus on killing rules that require they continue to provide DSL and POTS in areas they no longer want to:

http://www.muninetworks.org/content/kentuckians-once-again-fighting-keep-landlines

Both AT&T and Verizon want to kill DSL in huge swaths of markets, arguing that LTE will be good enough for those users. Granted a Netflix-gobbling household running face first into a 5GB cap with $15 per gigabyte overages is great for AT&T and Verizon, but not so great for consumer wallets. These are already mostly financially troubled areas they're targeting.

It's an issue that's kind of flying under the radar as we all get focused on how exciting LTE is, but forget it's not really a fixed line replacement -- in large part because of cost.

 
Carol Wilson
100%
0%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/27/2013 | 10:09:39 AM
Re: Still Lagging Behind
That's what they are doing here - promoting somewhat smaller VRADs and free landscaping. My little village was ahead of the game, bringing in a second cable competitor back in the 90s, so there wasn't as much pressure here to enable competition. 

Sooo, the regulatory thing -- AT&T is encouraging these new regulations with the intent of using to justify an exit?
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2013 | 10:07:02 AM
Re: Still Lagging Behind
I still think company claims that 80% or more will be able to get speeds up to 100 Mbps are generous. I know from years of listening to AT&T customers complain that loop lengths and line quality issues are going to make that a jumbo order. 

Granted it's also worth noting that AT&T's going state to state gutting regulations that require they continue offering DSL and POTS across huge swaths of markets (so they can exit them), so I really do think "Project VIP" is somewhat theatrical in nature.

I know the biggest remaining expansions for U-Verse will be in San Francisco and Indianapolis, which both I believe (like you) had issues with locals not appreciating the massive VRAD cabinets that suddenly pop up on their lawns.

I think AT&T's making progress on that front after offering to pay $1-2k for landscaping and beautification.
Carol Wilson
100%
0%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
8/26/2013 | 5:12:57 PM
Re: Still Lagging Behind
I think they do well in some areas by being the lower-cost option. I can't get AT&T U-Verse, because my suburb didn't give in on free placement of the VRADs, but there are now rumors that AT&T is once again in negotiation on that topic.

It made me think they are taking further expansion seriously. I'd agree they still need short, clean loops to make the speed thing work but continuing to push copper to its limits does seem to be paying off for them.
SarahReedy
100%
0%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
8/26/2013 | 2:23:53 PM
Speed v. reliability
This is good news. I'm paying $32 for "Internet max," so the extra speed would only cost $8 per month during the promo period. May have to look into it. I haven't had much of a problem with the speed so far though, just the Internet going in and out, which is frustrating for us work-at-home types. Sometimes speed can be just good enough, but reliability is most important.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2013 | 2:21:19 PM
Still Lagging Behind
Even with these upgrades (which require clean lines and short loop lengths, so won't be available to many) AT&T's still lagging on the competitive front. I noticed the other day that even when they deploy U-Verse fiber to the HOME service at new greenfield deployments they're capping those users at 24 Mbps. You'd think this would damage AT&T more than it does, but at last look I think they still owned something like 55% of the United States broadband market all by themselves.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Potholes Lurk in Indian Smart City Project
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 5/22/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
Cats with Phones
Too Fluffy to Talk Click Here
Elmer found that his bountiful fur got in the way of meaningful conversation.