AT&T Launches Homezone
In San Antonio and Parts of Ohio
by alexintexas 09:29AM Wednesday Jul 19 2006 Tipped by Karl Bode
AT&T yesterday began marketing their Homezone service, which features this
2wire media portal that integrates satellite TV and DSL connectivity. The service is a stop-gap service aimed at filling the gaps where the company has yet to (or is unwilling to) deploy 6Mbps VDSL and IPTV - aka "Project Lightspeed and U-Verse"
. Bundled packages will cost around $80-$140 per month, versus the $70-$120 per month for the U-Verse IPTV bundle, according to an AT&T spokesman."After Lightspeed is fully deployed and U-verse is fully deployed, there will be areas that are just not economic to offer fiber everywhere,"
recently stated AT&T's Homezone managing director Ken Tysell. "Homezone gives us a great product to make available to residential customers in all of the other areas, too. So we are going to coordinate the offer strategy and the rollout strategy between the two."
The service had previously been trialed by some 230 users, mostly AT&T employees. Coming in high-definition (eventually) and standard-definition versions, the boxes will offer users media sharing, on-demand content (see our Akimbo report
), remote DVR programming, and possibly place-shifting Slingbox functionality - if the legal issues can be worked out.
AT&T however won't allow users to browse to just any content with the box on their televisions, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report:
"While the Homezone set top-box will be connected to the Internet, users won't be able to surf to any Web Site. They will only be able to download content from providers who have made deals with AT&T. In that sense, the service will be like the so-called "walled garden" that America Online tried to create with its Internet service in the 1990s before it was pressured to give its customers access to the open Internet."
Homezone is launching this week in San Antonio and across a wide chunk of Ohio; the remainder of AT&T's 13 state footprint should see the service by year's end. Keep your eye peeled in our AT&T forums
for use impressions of the new service.