AT&T upgrades coming, if you live on the “high-potential” side of the divide


You either have or you have not, Slim.

AT&T is getting ready to roll out 45 Mbps service in Dallas shortly and expand over its entire wireline footprint during the coming year, according to Broadband DSL Reports. The technology being deployed – VDSL2 and pair bonding – has the potential to eventually make good on an earlier promise to deliver 75 to 100 Mbps service.

To maybe half of AT&T’s wireline customers. The other half will have to make do with slower copper-based speeds or, in some cases, with 4G mobile service. For a long time to come.

Last November, AT&T hyped plans to spend $14 billion on “high-potential growth platforms“. Translation: we’re putting money into mobile broadband and big city business district fiber, and we’ll finish the Uverse upgrade projects we’ve already started. Everyone else, sorry.

Alan Weissberger did a sharp job of unpicking AT&T numbers last year. A quarter of AT&T’s homes are stuck with what they have. For the rest, by 2015 his analysis has 43% with triple-play capability and 32% getting a lower grade of Uverse service. AT&T has since said that only 90% of the former and 40% of the latter could or would be upgraded to at least 75 Mbps.

Do the math: 52% of AT&T’s wireline homes might be able to get 75 Mbps. If there’s enough spare copper already installed, if they’re close enough to a street terminal and if AT&T actually upgrades everybody. So the real total looks to be slipping well below the fifty percent mark.

Better hope that AT&T thinks your neighborhood has high potential.

Comments (1)
  • http://www.ivpcapital.com/blog Michael Elling

    Vertically integrated monopolies always result in average, not marginal, cost derived business models. This impacts both investment and pricing. Think of a bell curve and their actions cause the standard deviation bars to get closer and closer leading to smaller addressable markets as they lose the low-end (digital divide) and high-end (cable/fiber) customers. As their addressable market declines they experience a reverse metcalfe effect and diseconomies of scale set in.

    That’s why we need to rethink network policy and business models in this country from vertically integrated silos to horizontally scaled, open intranets and exchanges in the lower, middle and upper layers.