The carrier had been saying it would launch U-verse in 15 to 20 markets during 2006. But it revised its goal downward in a December 21 press release: "AT&T now expects to launch AT&T U-verse in eleven markets by the end of the year, with plans to launch in additional markets in early 2007." (See AT&T Set to Expand Its U-verse and Lightspeed Unauthorized.)
Table 1: Across the U-verse
|25-Jul-06||AT&T says it will offer U-verse services in 15 to 20 markets by the end of 2006.|
|23-Oct-06||AT&T backs down its U-verse goal slightly, saying now it expects to launch services in "approximately 15 markets" by the end of 2006.|
|21-Dec-06||In its announcement regarding the launch of U-verse services in the Bay Area, AT&T again lowers its goal. The release states: "AT&T now expects to launch AT&T U-verse in eleven markets by the end of the year, with plans to launch in additional markets in early 2007."|
|28-Dec-06||AT&T clears its lowered hurdle with the launch of U-verse services in four Indiana cities: Indianapolis, Anderson, Muncie, and Bloomington|
|Source: AT&T press releases|
"We're really just fine-tuning our launch; we're enhancing the software based on some of the key learnings from our San Antonio and Houston launches," says AT&T spokesman Wes Warnock. Warnock adds that the carrier still intendes to pass 19 million homes with fiber by the end of 2008.
Warnock says there was nothing special about the U-verse deadline anyway: "It was sort of an arbitrary deadline."
AT&T launched U-verse in three states –- California, Indiana, and Connecticut -- in the final days of December. The service became available in selected communities around San Jose and San Francisco on Dec. 21. (See AT&T Unveils San Jose IPTV and AT&T Intros Bay Area IPTV.) It was turned on in parts of Hartford, New Haven, and Stamford, Connecticut, on Dec. 27. Finally, U-verse launched in Anderson, Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Muncie, Indiana, on December 28.
U-verse launched in AT&T's home town of San Antonio on June 26 and in nearby Houston on November 30. (See AT&T to Launch Lightspeed Next Month.)
The carrier is adding small pockets of subscribers at a time in each new market where it launches U-verse. For instance, in the San Francisco Bay Area, only subscribers in the cities of Danville and San Ramon could buy U-verse on launch day. (See It's a Small U-Verse for AT&T.)
But Warnock says availability in each market will expand rapidly: "Where it's available on Day 1 is different than where it will be available on Day 10. Our network build is going well, so we'll be turning up new areas almost on a daily basis."
AT&T has been busy attaining local video franchise agreements in cities within its service area since early 2006. Warnock says his company's success in obtaining those agreements has influenced the decision of where to launch U-verse first. (See SBC on TV Franchise Regs: We're Immune.)
— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading