Light Reading
Execs say AT&T's U-verse locations are heading for 100Mbit/s, with big wireline improvements reaching its other broadband customers, too

AT&T's Broadband Bravado

Phil Harvey
The Philter
Phil Harvey
1/7/2013
50%
50%

9:30 AM -- LAS VEGAS -- 2013 International CES -- The AT&T Inc. Developer Summit yesterday did not disappoint, and in many ways, it helped me answer the question: Where is AT&T's network going next? Of particular interest to me were the wireline network improvements noted by John Donovan, the former CTO of AT&T. Donovan's title these days is Senior Executive Vice President of AT&T Technology and Network Operations, AT&T Inc. He hopped in a car and left the Palms hotel right after the keynote session Monday morning. I was hoping to get a business card from him to see how large the cards were, given all the verbiage. What was I saying? Oh, yeah. The network ... What Donovan was clear about was that AT&T is bringing IP broadband services to more people as part of its Project Velocity IP, or Project VIP -- a menu of $15 billion worth of wireline and wireless improvements coming between now and 2015. When discussing DSLAM and wireline technologies, Donovan said: "With our plant technology advancements, 90 percent of our U-verse customer locations will have the capability to receive what we project to be 75 Mbit/s. And 75 percent will have the capability to receive up to 100 Mbit/s. "And almost 80 percent of the IP DSLAM customer locations will have the capability to receive 45 Mbit/s, with about half of those [customers] having the capability to receive up to 75 Mbit/s." He added that, in all, "75 percent of AT&T customer locations will have access to either U-verse or IP DSLAMs." Also, he reiterated the deadline, saying that AT&T will "essentially complete this IP broadband build by the end of 2015." Later, during a meeting, Jeff Weber, AT&T's VP of U-verse and Video Products, noted that AT&T already offers 35 Mbit/s to some U-verse customers today. "Our roadmap for broadband is really, really robust," he tells Light Reading. At one point I thought AT&T would run out of road by having U-verse deployed on anything less than an all-fiber network. Donovan and Weber are making the case that AT&T has plenty of technology in its own network, by taking advantage of new video compression techniques, to keep that road stretching out a long, long way. — Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

(13)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
alr
50%
50%
alr,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/11/2013 | 10:54:21 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
While I agree with that future deployments should be fiber, I am curious as to what kinds of applications might require more than 100Mbps to the home. That would be enough for multiple HD video streams, enough for most home entertainment, gaming, communication etc. All other futuristic applications people talk about like intelligent homes etc. need-áminuscule-áamounts of data. If you need to host content that needs more bandwidth, that would probably be located in the cloud, rather than at home, and is an entirely different tier of service.

Not being snarky here - I am genuinely curious as to what people think might be drivers for demand of bandwidth. If you look at current uses of the Internet, they are really a new/improved form of communication, entertainment and information services that have been around for a long time (yes, HD VoD is not all that different from a TV with rabbit ears 50 years ago). There is a limit to the bandwidth a human being can consume. Higher resolution TV brings ever diminishing returns, and there are no applications that consume more bandwidth than video.
joanengebretson
50%
50%
joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 2:33:59 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
It's important to keep in mind that Project Velocity targets smaller less urbanized markets that are costlier to serve because of their comparatively low population density. It would be difficult for AT&T to make a business case for an FTTH deployment in many of these areas.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/10/2013 | 5:09:43 AM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
Phil,

The easy thing to do is get someone to produce a rate versus reach chart for VDSL2 with vectoring. -áThen have them show you the point at which you get 75 Mb/s or 100 Mb/s. -áThe charts that I generally see show that at a much shorter reach than I understood the u-Verse loop plant to be designed to. -áMore like the FTTC plant in the old Reltec/Marconi/AFC/Tellabs product.

All of those charts assume good quality plant with no extra noise or disturbers. -áThis will lead people to have to rehab copper.

To MMQOS,

Yes, I was heavily involved in FiOS. -áThe extra costs come in laying the F3 fiber. -áONT/OLT/and F1/F2 fiber costs are about the same. -áI argue regularly at low densities that GPON is cheaper than VDSL2 already (and I have said that here often). -áThis is because at some point you reach a very small number of homes per DSLAM and the costs/port go up a lot.

The reason that the DSLAMs were limited to 30 Mb/s (and actually it was 25 initially) was the technology + loop design. -áWhat the claim is (and this is the part I am really struggling with) is that vectoring ALONE can take a 2500' DSL loop from 25 Mb/s to 75 Mb/s. -áI think THAT is a stretch. -áAnd as you point out (well I am not sure you meant to but...), they have to shift to a 30 MHz band plan to achieve these rates. -áWhich means new DSLAM ports and new DSL modems.

Finally, back to Phil's question. -áIt is based on cost and performance. Cable has kept their prices high (relatively) for Cable Modem service and have stayed ahead of u-Verse in terms of performance. -áSo - I think its based on price and value. -áThe one thing I believe and believe strongly (probably in disagreement with many here) is that video bandwidths will go down over the long term. -áThis is because things will move from centralized large screens to personal smaller screens. -áIf the need for high performance HD video goes down then u-Verse could have a place for some time.

seven
Duh!
50%
50%
Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/9/2013 | 9:19:04 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
No simple answer to that one.-á-á-á IMHO,-á it can play out in a few different ways.-á

1) Stephenson's successor reverses the strategy and ramps up FTTP to replace DSL in U-Verse.
2) AT&T spins out the wireline business and the new entity ramps up FTTP to replace DSL in U-Verse.
3) This generation or the next or the one after of DSL technology proves unfeasible or uneconomic in AT&T's outside plant
4) Inferior video QOE and lower Internet speeds than cable force AT&T to compete on price alone, shaving margins to the point of having to exit.
5) MSOs match AT&T's pricing with better video QOE and higher Internet speeds and too-good-to-resist special offers, and revenue shrinks to the point that AT&T has to exit.
6) AT&T simply exits.

I can't forecast a timeframe or a line rate.-á Maybe Heavy Reading, with all their access, would be able to do that research and at least SWAG it.
MMQoS
50%
50%
MMQoS,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/9/2013 | 7:45:11 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
Brook-
I suspect that Donovan was mixing his marketing inspired
buzzwords when using "compression" while discussing transmission
bandwidth.-á uVerse has continued to receive volumes of complaints about
poor HD QoE due to DSL b/w limitations so I'm sure his Labs folks are
promising him better HD quality with HEVC.
But I agree with Brook.-á
Until Stevenson (ex CFO) is replaced with a CEO who has some technical
understanding, at&t has a dead end strategy for video and the b/w
necessary to support excellent QoE.-á John Cioffi is a brilliant engineer
and also a great salesman who has had the ear and the checkbook of
Stevenson for many years.-á It was Stevenson who pushed his exec for SBC
to drop out of the TriBOC FTTH consortium program based on Cioffi's
input that copper was a good as fiber and much cheaper.-á My issue with
John Cioffi's models has always been that his early tests were performed
at the Rose Bowl champion University's labs on copper media of a known
quality.-á The copper media strung on poles or in the ground for many,
many years most likely has differing characteristics.-á This was debated
extensively in the DSL Forum.-á His company and others have since
developed some good analytic tools, however each new subscriber has to
have a truck roll to evaluate the copper capability from the DSLAM to
the residential demarc.-á
In my case when I ordered uVerse when it
was first available and since I was less than a 100 meters from the
DSLAM and my copper was less then 8 years old, why would they only
provide 30Mb/s max.-á I was told that this was the limitation of the
Alcatel DSLAM port.-á That means that those sub cards if not the whole DSLAM will have to be replaced.
So
while Siedenberg had the hide to make the investment up front for FTTH
and continues to do so in spite of the press, at&t has added a patch
here and another function there.-á With multiple truck rolls to "tune"
the media, forward error control, heavy video compression, maybe new
DSLAMs and other tricks to (hopefully) achieve the necessary bit error
rate for good QoE, I've often wondered what is the true cost per sub for
uVerse vs FiOS.

Phil: I'll bet my monkey that FiOS is not much
if any more costly then uVerse, especially as the GPON's can also be
used to support LTE access points.
BTW I dropped uVerse TV because of poor video quality.

mmQoS
Phil Harvey
50%
50%
Phil Harvey,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/9/2013 | 6:59:54 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
The point of writing this wasn't to say that AT&T was faster than anyone else or that 100Mbit/s was some magical threshold. AT&T has, however, provided a path to upgrades (for some set of customers) that's way above what they were talking about a couple of years ago. That's why I felt it interesting enough to pass along. Investors will be interested to hear that, as will vendors who sell gear related to DSL tech.
Phil Harvey
50%
50%
Phil Harvey,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/9/2013 | 6:57:38 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
The sentence should have read: "...-áAT&T has plenty of technology in its own network, by taking advantage of vectoring and new video compression techniques, to keep that road... "

Anyway, if AT&T's strategy is a dead end, what will the dead end number be? At what speed will consumers walk away and go to cable? And when will that happen -- in a decade? Two?
rma153
50%
50%
rma153,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/9/2013 | 1:17:43 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
Woohoo! Stop the presses! Up to 75 Mbps, and almost 100 Mbps-áfor some lucky subs??!!-á This is pathetic considering ironically, the very next story on lightreading, right below this story, talks about the cable companies' ability to do 1 Gbps....

And who came up with 100 Mbps as the Holy Grail of bandwidth, anyways? What-áwill they do-áwhen-áwe want 101 Mbps.-áAT&T better be praying-áfor a faster exit strategy out of wireline, because-áthe brick wall is-ácomin'.-á
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/8/2013 | 9:20:53 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
Reading the statements closely....do you think he means that the 75 - 100 Mb/s is really due to compression? -áWhat I mean is "With our plant technology advancements, 90 percent of our U-verse customer locations will have the capability to receive what we project to be 75 Mbit/s."...I remember when dial modems were listed with their compressed data rates on the boxes.

seven
Duh!
50%
50%
Duh!,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/8/2013 | 8:18:46 PM
re: AT&T's Broadband Bravado
-áFirst of all, compression is a non-sequitr.-á

It appears that AT&T has as much as announced that they're going to start deploying vectoring in U-Verse.-á Cioffi claims that there is more room, through signal processing techniques, to push copper plant to the boundaries of the Nyquist limit.-á I'm not as confident as he is.-á As we saw with dial-up,-á substituting processing for bandwidth and C/N+I starts to run up against diminishing returns.-á Cioffi and friends have more tricks up their sleeves, but I'm skeptical that they will be cost-effective, or competitive in the long run with FTTH, DOCSIS 3.1 or even DOCSIS 3.0.

Equally to the point, AT&T's copper plant is aging, and significant portions must be reaching the end of their economic life every year.-á Copper commodity prices continue to trend upward significantly, as pricing for optical fiber remain flat and cost differential between fiber and copper construction declines.-á Plus operations and maintenance costs for copper is significantly greater than for fiber.-á Therefore, rehabbing copper plant seems very hard to justify.

So in my opinion,-á AT&T's DSL strategy is a dead-end. -á More a sop to Wall St. analysts than solidly grounded in technology, operations, economics and markets.-á Hopefully, Stephenson's successor will show the same kind of cajones that Seidenburg and his team did a decade ago.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
More Blogs from The Philter
There's an interesting tension between how much SDN can benefit service providers and how it could threaten their established businesses
Stanford's Nick McKeown says SDN won't take hold until networking equipment vendors give up some control
OneAPI may provide developers a reason to build apps and content for networks, not just mobile operating systems
Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg defends his company's managed services deals and says he'd rather invest in R&D than make expensive acquisitions
Use our message boards to share photos from your Barcelona experience this week
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (4) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
LightSpeed Looks to Plug the Gigabit Gap
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/23/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.