AT&T U-verse Steps on Gas
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