Cable Tech

AT&T Defends FTTN

4:30 PM -- One of the more interesting speakers at VON this week was AT&T vice president of product and strategy Jeff Webber, who spent the first several minutes of his presentation defending AT&T's decision to deploy a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) network, rather than taking fiber all the way to the customer premises.

So far, AT&T has attracted more than 126,000 subscribers to its U-verse IPTV offering, and it is rolling out services at nearly 10,000 new subscribers per week, a number Weber says he is confident the company will reach by the end of the quarter. (See AT&T Sees iPhone Pop in Q3.)

But some in the industry believe that AT&T may have problems scaling over the last-mile copper architecture as more bandwidth-intensive services, like HDTV, become more prevalent. (See AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks.)

"First they said you can't do TV over copper. Then they said you can't do HD. Then they said you can't scale," Weber says. "Bandwidth is a topic we hear an awful lot about. But we think it's a non-issue going forward, because we're doing it today."

Weber says that despite the naysayers in the industry, AT&T is doing well in rolling out and scaling its IPTV service.

"We're delivering one stream of HD today. We have more HD channels available than pretty much any competitor we're going up against. We have a very significant take rate on HD, which I believe is the highest in industry. And we're going to two-plus HD streams in the near future."

The question is, will AT&T be able to keep up once new services are deployed by its competitors?

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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