AT&T is discussing this internally and should make a decision within weeks, writes George Notter of Jefferies & Company Inc. The carrier has an analyst day planned for Nov. 7, so it's possible any big news could come out then.
The U-verse expansion would probably take 12 to 18 months, equipment-vendor sources told Notter.
Why this matters
Obviously, the first 30 million-line deployment concentrated on areas easy to wire up and/or filled with likely customers, so any expansion would start bringing broadband to more remote areas. Notter points out that the remaining 18 million access lines are "scattered over 80 percent of AT&T's geographic footprint."
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) provided the fiber-to-the-node gear for the original U-verse deployment and would be the likely choice for the expansion, Notter writes. Part of the reason is because the expansion isn't big enough to justify the OSS/BSS work required to bring in companies such as Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) or Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX)
About 3 million to 5 million households would get FTTN in a U-verse expansion, Notter estimates. Most of the rest would get access via LTE, and that part of the deal could be split between AlcaLu and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), he writes.
The FTTN business wouldn't be huge for AlcaLu -- about $110 million to $190 million in DSLAM equipment, Notter writes.
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— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading