News tagged: AT&T DSL Service
Hoping few would notice, AT&T's filing with the SEC last Friday
notes that the telecom giant will be taking a $10 billion hit on fourth quarter earnings. According to AT&T, $7.9 billion of that total is "related to actuarial gains and losses on pension and postemployment benefit plans." The specific nature of those losses? The company's ex-employees are living longer than company projections estimated (or as AT&T puts it, they've had to "update mortality assumptions").
The company's taking another $2.1 billion hit for backing away from DSL markets it doesn't want to upgrade in order to focus on significantly more profitable wireless services.
"During the fourth quarter, we performed an analysis of our network assets and determined that specific copper assets will not be necessary to support future network activity, due to declining customer demand for our legacy voice and data products and the migration of our networks to next generation technology," AT&T wrote.
The company didn't specify which markets they'll be hanging up on, but the company's lobbyists have been going state to state
trying to convince local regulators to dismantle regulations requiring they continue to provide dial tone and DSL (and in the process many consumer protections as well).
AT&T has had their wrist slapped by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau for not being entirely honest when it comes to the availability of the company's 45 Mbps U-Verse tier. While AT&T started offering a 45 Mbps U-Verse tier last year, as we noted at the time it's not available to all U-Verse subscribers
, depending on your loop length, the availability of an extra copper pair, or the quality of local copper.
Earlier this month story continues..
AT&T responded to the President's clear support of Title II by bluffing and claiming they were freezing all fiber investment to "up to" 100 cities. If you've been around here for a while you know that AT&T's plans to deploy fiber to 100 cities was always a heavy dose of smoke and mirrors to begin with
, the company in reality repeatedly slashing their fixed-line investment projections (they had just cut fixed-line spending CAPEX by $3 billion just three days before the President's announcement).
AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV appears to getting lost in the furor over Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, something AT&T likely anticipated. Out of the gate AT&T was misleading about the benefits of the deal
, which, unlike the Comcast merger, will actually eliminate a pay TV competitor from the field.
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS (plain old telephone) and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. The name of the game is terminating these unwanted users and pushing them users toward significantly more expensive (and capped) LTE wireless service.
After Google Fiber announced their expansion plans to Austin, AT&T rushed to announce that they too would be offering 1 Gbps service in the weird city. There were of course caveats for AT&T's service, including a bevy of fees not included in Google Fiber connections and a $30 surcharge
if you refused to have your online behavior tracked and monetized.
Back in March AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson insisted that AT&T's 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service would arrive in Dallas sometime this summer
, but like much of the company's 1 Gbps deployment, specifics (deployment areas, total cost, number of users) was left ambiguous. Today AT&T got a little more specific, stating the company would be offering the ultra-fast service in "Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding cities" before the summer is out.
Long-time telecom analyst Bruce Kushnick has a good read
exploring how AT&T keeps making the same broadband deployment promises over and over again every time they want something from government, and nobody in the technology press can be bothered to notice. In 2004, in addition to 100 Mbps lines never provided, AT&T (then SBC) promised to deploy broadband to every home in their 22-state footprint in exchange for regulators locking the FiOS and U-Verse networks off from open access policies and competition.
At the same time AT&T was quietly informing investors that the company would be cutting fixed-line network investment
, the company was telling regulators that they'd expand fiber to the home 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service if their acquisition of DirecTV is approved. In filings with regulators
, AT&T promised that if regulators approve their takeover of DirecTV, the company would deploy Gigapower to two million locations:
AT&T said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that the DirecTV deal would enable it to upgrade 2 million additional locations to "Gigapower" fiber connections, and expand high speed broadband coverage overall to 13 million locations.
Jefferies analyst George Notter wrote a note to investors this week
that AT&T "significantly reduced" the company's spending on their fixed-line network last month, something that has spooked AT&T hardware vendors like Ciena, Juniper and Adtran. If you've been reading our reports this shouldn't shock you; AT&T's been cutting fixed-line network investment each year for some time.
Lafayette Louisiana's LUS Fiber faced very sleazy efforts by Cox and BellSouth
years ago when trying to launch; efforts that went so far as the two companies hiring push pollsters to try and tell locals taxpayer money would be used to fund pornography. Some pollsters even tried to tell locals that if they approved the municipal broadband project, the government would restrict their television watching
to just a few days a week.
AT&T didn't waste any time today selling the company's planned acquisition of DirecTV
using AT&T's special brand of massaged statistics and misleading claims. Both AT&T and DirecTV CEOs are already promising that eliminating a pay TV competitor will somehow bring consumers more competitive pricing, though most consumer argue the exact opposite is likely to happen.
So why is AT&T rumored to be buying DirecTV in a deal estimated to be worth $50 billion? To hear USAToday tell it
, it's because AT&T wants to bundle satellite TV service with DSL in areas they don't sell U-Verse TV, but somebody apparently forgot to tell the news outlet that AT&T is busy hanging up on most of these users
because they don't want to upgrade them, making that theory less likely.
Perhaps they're just really excited to get into the satellite TV business? Except the satellite business isn't a high growth market, it's a highly saturated market meaning no real subscriber growth in TV user additions in the foreseeable future.
When AT&T first launched their 1 Gbps (which is still actually 300 Mbps
, but whatever) "Gigapower" service in Austin late last year in response to Google Fiber, the company's pricing raised a few eyebrows. In addition to the $350 ETF, installation and activation fees (which Google doesn't charge), AT&T only matched Google's $70 pricing point if you agreed to opt in to the company's Internet Preferences
, which goes beyond Google-esque snooping to use deep packet inspection to track each and every website you visit, and for how long.
At the Cable Show today in Los Angeles, former cable lobbyist turned current FCC boss Tom Wheeler was ironically interviewed by former FCC boss turned cable lobbyist Michael Powell. In his comments to attendees
, Wheeler again tried to defend critics that say the Chairman's new neutrality rules actually do more harm than good
, in that they codify and protect incumbent ISP dreams of imposing all manner of new surcharges upon content companies and users.
Last week we noted how AT&T's decision to maybe
deploy 1 Gbps fiber to 100 cities was a major bluff
, in that AT&T isn't willing to actually spend the money to make that happen. Fixed-line investment is dropping year over year, and "GigaPower" is largely just a PR exercise aimed at countering Google Fiber in the media.
AT&T's 1 Gbps "Gigapower" product is currently only available in a portion of one market: Austin, Texas. At the moment users pay $70 ($100 if you don't want AT&T monetizing your browsing habits
) for 300 Mbps, though AT&T insists users will be able to get 1 Gbps service later this year.
Shortly after Google announced Google Fiber in Austin, AT&T announced that they too would be offering 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service in the city as well (though it's currently 300 Mbps
). At the time, AT&T denied that the move was in any way motivated by Google Fiber, and that AT&T was planning all along to offer 1 Gbps connections (even if no evidence supports that claim, and millions of AT&T users are lucky to get 6 Mbps).
AT&T today announced that the company is "eyeing" 100 potential target cities as locations they may
deploy faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service. According to the company's press release
, this "major initiative" will target 100 "candidate cities and municipalities" across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide.
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