Not going to hang-up
Once they've got the gear there and don't invest, they are cash cows. However, AT&T is clearly not looking long-term. The long-term solution is 100% FTTH. Yes, it costs a lot now, but it will keep them competitive with any other carrier well into the future.
While they may not be upgrading rural markets, they are upgrading small cities. Every town here, including small ones have a prolific number of VRADs sprouting up. The problem is, the VRADs have extremely spotty coverage, since unlike fiber, they are very much distance limited. If they went FTTH, they could offer something that has 100% penetration, even on long, branching roads.
It's sad that they have the most advanced TV technology in IPTV, yet the implementation is so badly botched. If they had done higher bitrate IPTV over FTTH or FTTB (To The Building) for MDUs, they would have a much more competitive product.
The VDSL/IPTV system, if implemented only for MDUs, and at close range, would offer speeds in excess of 100mbps symmetrical, with GPON for single-family applications, and both would have kept AT&T extremely competitive with cable, even well into the DOCSIS 3 range. Unfortunately, AT&T decided not to invest.