Video services

SBC Makes $800M Texas Pledge

PLANO, Texas -- SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) said today that it has earmarked $800 million to roll out its IPTV and high-speed data services in Texas. That amount will allow the carrier to wire every one of its central offices in the state with DSL equipment, SBC officials said.

The $800 million is included in the already announced $4 billion SBC has committed to its next-generation access network, called Project Lightspeed. Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), the main equipment vendor beneficiary of SBC's plans, also disclosed today that it has spent some $50 million in one year's time on a state-of-the-art IPTV testing facility and executive demonstration area. (See Alcatel, Microsoft Tuning IPTV Deal.)

Hubert de Pesquidoux, president of Alcatel North America, told Light Reading today that this IPTV facility has attracted technology partners from all over the world to Texas as this deployment is being "watched closely all around the world."

To add to the fanfare of today's announcement, Texas Governor Rick Perry and Representative Phil King were both on-hand to cheer on SBC's efforts and to encourage further investment in the state. Both politicians also sat through an IPTV demonstration in Alcatel's briefing center.

In September, Gov. Perry signed into law Texas Senate Bill 5, a telecom reform act that makes things easier for new entrants to the video services market. The law allows phone companies and other competitive carriers to apply for one state-issued franchise, rather than asking each individual municipality in the state for permission to set up shop as a video service provider. (See SBC Eyes Alamo City for Video and Even Video Is Big in Texas.)

"The best way to harness the power of American ingenuity is to release it from the chains of government regulation," Gov. Perry said to the assembled executives, media, and political leaders here. "Just two months after I signed Senate Bill 5 into law, Texas is realizing the benefits of responsible reform."

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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