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AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV

Phil Harvey
1/5/2006
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It is definitely "put-up or shut -up" time for IPTV and its video service competitors. (See Will IPTV Bloom in 2006?)

Within hours of each other on Thursday, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) both announced further progress in their efforts to bring TV and all manner of digital services to consumers via their revamped, fiber-fed access networks.

AT&T announced it has started a controlled market entry for its IPTV service in San Antonio, where it has been conducting network trials for several months. There are a small number of customers being targeted for the service now, and that number will grow to "several hundred in the next few months," according to AT&T spokeswoman Denise Koenig. (See SBC Stretches Lightspeed Timeline .)

The carrier's first IPTV customers will have their homes outfitted with a 2Wire Inc. residential gateway and up to three DVR-equipped set-top boxes. AT&T will use Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Scientific-Atlanta Inc. set-tops later on. It is using Tatung products right now.

As the service ramps, Koenig says, customers will get several dozen more channels and the ability to enjoy "whole-house DVR" -- a service where a program recorded by one TV is watchable on any other TV in the house.

Interestingly, AT&T still hasn't settled on a single compression scheme to get all its video bits down the last few feet of copper pair to the customer's house. This initial market entry in San Antonio uses "either MPEG-4 or VC-1," according to Koenig. VC-1 is Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series codec for creating high-quality video at lower data rates.

Because of this and other technical issues, the carrier is starting slow and will roll out to more and more homes as it fine-tunes the service. In a public demonstration back in November 2005, some of the advanced features AT&T attempted to show off to Texas Governor Rick Perry and others didn't work so well. Specifically, the demonstrator had trouble remotely program a DVR with a wireless phone, and the switch between live TV and a video-on-demand library was less than elegant. (See SBC Makes $800M Texas Pledge .)

Not to be outdone, Verizon also trumpeted its video services success today as the carrier boasted that it will make FiOS TV available to 1 million potential viewers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by the end of 2006. (See Verizon Extends FiOS.)

The carrier says it is now offering FiOS TV to 14 communities in DFW, up from seven just a few weeks ago. As of the end of 2005, Verizon says its fiber access network passed 3 million homes, and the company plans to pass 3 million more by the end of 2006. That would cover around 20 percent of its residential customer base.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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optical_man
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optical_man,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:08 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
Oh Mr. Harvey, but I AM a Verizon FIOS customer. Have been for months and months and months.
And I DO live in one of the cities named in the PR.
And Verizon DOES not claim to know anything about what the PR department is doing.....

I realize they'll figure out what the left hand is doing eventually, but maybe someone in charge should check the phone numbers in the PR, and maybe, just maybe, they should alert the first line phone support team "hey guys, if some nut job from XXX in North Texas calls asking about Fios TV, don't hang up on him, we just offered service in his town"
DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:08 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
Pretty much what the mean is: IF you live in North Texas AND Verizon is already your phone company (i.e., you were once a GTE customer) AND you've recently seen guys with hard hats outside your house installing fiber THEN you should call and see what's available.

Or we could all just move to Keller...
optical_man
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optical_man,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:08 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
From Verizon.com's site:
"Information on packages and prices is available at www.verizon.net/fiostv. North Texas customers also can call 1-800-880-2941 to see if they can order FiOS TV."

Called that number, was told "Sir, this is the New York office, why are you calling here?".

When I discussed the PR, they transferred me three times. Finally got to FIOS people.
"Yes Sir, it may say that your town has FiosTV, but that is a Company PR, it does not affect what we can offer you, and I'm telling you that if you don't live in Keller, you cannot get FiosTV, sorry Sir".

...But...but....

"Sorry sir, but I'm checking our website as you requested, and it is correct. Verizon only offers FiosTV in Keller TX and Herndon, VA. Is there is anything else I can help you with today?"
DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:06 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
Well, dude, that's just how it is dealing with big phone companies.

People walk around all the time asking them to take their money and they can't seem to figure out how.

ph
materialgirl
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materialgirl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:03 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
Dear O-man,
How do you like FIOS? How fast to the channels change? How many channels do you have? Do you like the interface? How many months have you had it, and have you seen many changes in that time? What is your data throughput to the Internet? Just curious.
optical_man
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optical_man,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:02 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
ph states:
"People walk around all the time asking them to take their money and they can't seem to figure out how."



HA!

That's exactly what my later email to them stated, "Guys, I shouldn't have to chase you down the street to give you my money, you should be chasing after me and my business".
optical_man
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50%
optical_man,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:10:01 AM
re: AT&T, Verizon Tout Telco TV
"Dear O-man,
How do you like FIOS? How fast to the channels change? How many channels do you have? Do you like the interface? How many months have you had it, and have you seen many changes in that time? What is your data throughput to the Internet? Just curious."

Materialgirl,
Fios Internet is rock solid, never off, never glitched since I had it.
I actually get cranky now when I'm in a wifi hotspot because DSL is so darned slow!

FiosTV on the other hand....like I told PH, I'm running down the street with a wad of cash chasing the Verizon IPTV Ice Cream truck, and they're running stop signs to get out of the neighborhood.
Checked again today on VZ FiosTV web site, and even though I've had Fios fiber for almost a year, when I enter my home address, it shows that "Service is not yet available to your neighborhood" even though the Press Release states that it's available to my entire hamlet.
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