AT&T Zeroes In on 1M U-verse Subs
"We are getting greater than 10 percent penetration within one year when we begin marketing [U-verse] to a customer base," Stankey said.
AT&T expects its U-verse network to pass about 17 million so-called living units by year-end.
Stankey also touched on planned enhancements, such as an expanded high-definition lineup and greater HD streaming capacity, meant to separate U-verse from the TV offerings of cable operators.
AT&T expects to start offering more than 100 linear HD channels by the middle of next week, putting U-verse in line with, and in some cases ahead of, its cable rivals. Thanks to some improved video compression capabilities, AT&T can deliver two live HD streams into a home and support up to three streams of recorded content via its whole-home DVR. (See AT&T Launches Whole-Home DVR.)
At this point, no one is screaming for AT&T to add a third HD stream, or, at least, service reps aren't complaining to the company brass that they can't sell U-verse without that capability. Still, AT&T appears to be heading in that direction.
"We have got a clear line of sight for three HD streams, given the direction on compression," Stankey said, noting that AT&T is already conducting such tests in lab settings.
AT&T also plans to embed more Internet-like capabilities in the U-verse video platform, but Stankey didn't detail what the company has in mind.
Stankey also addressed, but did not really provide an answer for, some of the lingering capital expense-related questions at AT&T, which just announced some serious belt tightening. (See Sizing Up AT&T's Cuts (and Chops) and AT&T to Cut 12,000 Jobs .)
He reiterated that AT&T's 2009 capex will be lower than this year's, and he pointed out two projects that will be among those getting the most love next year: access-network bandwidth and the wireless network.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News