& cplSiteName &

AT&T: We're Sticking With FTTN

Phil Harvey
News Analysis
Phil Harvey
10/17/2006
50%
50%

Rumors that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is abandoning the fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) part of its Project Lightspeed broadband access network makeover are being shot down by the carrier and industry analysts this week.

Following a fiber-to-the-home conference and the Broadband World Forum, analysts, equipment makers, and competitors once again trotted out speculation that AT&T's FTTN efforts aren't going well and that the carrier is close to reaching a decision to retool its broadband strategy, perhaps even embracing a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) plan similar to Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s.

AT&T says the speculation is way off base. Using FTTN, plus some FTTP rollouts where it makes sense, "allows us to reach more customers in a shorter amount of time," says Wes Warnock, an AT&T spokesman. "And we think it's the wisest use of our capex, and that's how we intend to reach 19 million customers by the end of 2008."

Unlike Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which is taking its fiber connections all the way to consumer homes, AT&T is taking fiber to the node (or, roughly speaking, the neighborhood) in most cases and delivering services via VDSL on the copper lines that already reach consumer homes. This method is said to be less expensive than Verizon's approach, but the company has been under constant fire for the plan since it was announced.

It should be noted that AT&T is doing some FTTP buildouts, but only in selected areas and mostly in new residential neighborhoods. Of the 19 million customers the company is aiming to pass with fiber, only about 1 million will be reached via FTTP.

So where does the naysaying get its legs? One place is the constant criticism that AT&T's FTTN approach won't be able to support a true high-definition TV service. The company started its U-verse TV service as a standard-definition-only service, and that first fueled criticism that the company was having technical troubles.

But a few weeks ago, AT&T did start an HDTV test in some of its employees' homes in Houston. Its IPTV service, U-verse TV, isn't available commercially in Houston yet, but the carrier has made it clear that Houston will be its next market after San Antonio -- the city that's home to AT&T's headquarters.

FTTP equipment makers may also be doing their fair share of rumor-mongering, say industry analysts. "I chalk up the speculation to some vendors' wishful thinking," says Millennium Marketing analyst Kermit Ross. Ross adds that he thinks AT&T is on track to add more FTTN sites next year than it did this year. "They're nowhere near giving up on FTTN," he says.

"The problem is that no one is sure what VDSL can really deliver," says Graham Finnie, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. That, he says, is why it's too soon to say whether FTTN will pan out, even as carriers make plans to roll out multiple HDTV streams per household, and consumer bandwidth demand grows.

In his June report on FTTP, Finnie writes that VDSL2, in theory, "can indeed offer 100 Mbit/s of capacity in both upstream and downstream directions simultaneously." But, when factoring in loop lengths, crosstalk, noise, and other "real world" conditions, the throughput for FTTN networks varies. "Alcatel estimated that in 'real' network conditions, VDSL2 could be expected to deliver 32 Mbit/s in each direction on 500-meter loops," Finnie writes.

AT&T's Warnock says the carrier's FTTN/VDSL customers are happy with U-verse, and its HDTV trials are going well. He says AT&T is still on track to offer U-verse in 15 to 20 markets by the end of this year across the carrier's 13-state territory -– and all of those markets will launch with HD service from the get-go.

Some of those markets are in North Texas -- Light Reading has been reporting for months that AT&T is upgrading its telco and video plant all over the region, as it prepares to offer FTTN in established neighborhoods and FTTP connections in newer housing developments. (See AT&T Readies Lightspeed in North Texas.)

In one area closely watched -- Frisco's Pearson Farms subdivision -– Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and AT&T are set to battle it out as new homes are built. (See Hunting Project Lightspeed and Lightspeed Unauthorized.) Video will reach neighborhoods there after it has traversed one of AT&T's two national content aggregation centers (master headends); one of its 40 IP video hubs (regional headends); and one of its 140 video serving offices (local distribution points).

As that battle shapes up, neighborhood by neighborhood, AT&T says the benefits of IPTV will help it distinguish itself from its cable competitors. Already, Warnock says, U-verse customers in San Antonio can record up to four standard-definition TV programs at once on their DVRs -– a feat that's impossible on most cable systems without expensive multituner set-top boxes.

Ross says telcos big and small are watching Verizon and AT&T -– and the trials and tribulations of FTTP vs. FTTN -- with interest. The two behemoths are tackling a question every telco will have to address sooner or later, Ross says: "How do I build or rebuild my outside plant to achieve my strategic goals?"

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
50%
50%
"Ill" Duce,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:37:32 AM
re: AT&T: We're Sticking With FTTN
I am on the SE corner of Stonebriar Mall, and TWC has sent me a notice they are upgrading their OSP in the area. I was also told by one of the techs that they are going to a single wire delivery system rather than the old two-wire. (wow, were joining the mid-80s.)I also got a notice form AT&T telling me they are offering 6mb wireless (for a whole crapload of money.) When do I get my FIOS/anything other than TWC?


DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:37:31 AM
re: AT&T: We're Sticking With FTTN
I dunno. I guess you're like me and live in a Homezone 'hood.

The crap thing about that is if you're already a DISH customer, AT&T won't allow you to get Homezone.

No convergence for you!!
SuperChargeAccess
50%
50%
SuperChargeAccess,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:37:13 AM
re: AT&T: We're Sticking With FTTN
VDSL from FTTC sure sounds like the best compromise!
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:37:10 AM
re: AT&T: We're Sticking With FTTN

FTTC only has reasonable economics for very high density homes. To meet the FCC limit to equate it to FTTP, that means 500 feet of copper. If you are on Acre lots that would equate to about 4 homes per ONU. On small lots, that same number can be 10 or 12.

seven
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Netflix Set to Enter China
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/25/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.