Light Reading
Carrier says its FTTN plans are solid and its new HDTV trials are going well

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
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
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Telefonica Spain Considers Antenna Selection for LTE Network Deployment

7|4|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Tony Conlan, Global CTO of RAN, Telefonica, shares his opinion on antennas in LTE network deployment: Tower space is the premier requirement on antennas; reliability is important to reduce OPEX; and EasyRET solution will be helpful for antenna maintenance.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
dtac Thailand: Multi-band Antenna & Capacity Solution for a Better MBB Experience

7|3|14   |   3:45   |   (0) comments


With the development of LTE, tower space and load are limited for new antenna, but users' capacity requirements are growing fast. To provide a better MBB experience, Panya Vechbanyongratana from dtac Thailand shared his experiences and antenna requirements.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Panel: Network of the Future

7|2|14   |   1:00:57   |   (0) comments


Full-length video of the ATIS Panel Discussion: 'How Far Away Is the Network of the Future & What Does It Look Like?' from the Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago.
LRTV Custom TV
Redknee Supports BH Telecom With Redknee Unified

7|2|14   |   6.14   |   (0) comments


Lucas Skoczkowski, CEO of Redknee, and Amir Orucevic, Director BH Mobile, discuss how the benefits of the Redknee Unified suite of products provide BH Telecom with innovation and leadership in the market, with the flexibility to launch services faster to the market, provide new and compelling promotions and pricing models, and combine services in order to drive ...
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
Infographics
Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Hot Topics
Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/17/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Have IBM & Apple Partnered Their Way to Cloud Leadership?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/18/2014
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
FiOS: Slower Sub Growth, Faster Upload Speeds
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/22/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed