AT&T will serve 14 million customers with fiber to the premises (FTTP) by the end of 2019, Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said in the operator's most recent earnings call.
That represents 1.5 million more residences than required in its pact with the Federal Communications Commission: As part of the deal to acquire DirecTV, AT&T pledged to deliver fiber broadband services to 12.5 million sites.
"We have the largest fiber footprint in the country, and we are ahead of the plan to reach our 12.5 million new fiber customer locations FCC commitment by mid-2019," he said. "In fact, by the time it's all said and done, we could be looking at around 14 million fiber-to-the-prem customer locations."
Access to fiber is critical to the CSP: In regions where AT&T does not have FTTx, it's lost subscribers, said Stephens.
"We are seeing on an out-of-footprint basis where we don't have fiber, we're seeing sub losses to competitors where they can bundle," he noted. "We believe we're going to, if you will, arrest that or address that situation as we continue to build out fiber."
Expanded fiber, coupled with 5G wireless, will further extend AT&T's reach to customers across the country, he said. This marks the third straight quarter of total broadband growth, in part due to the operator's investment in fiber, added Stephens.
"Extending fiber to more than 5.5 million customer locations is strengthening our broadband position," he said. "In fact, the number of broadband subscribers on speeds 18 megabits or higher has increased by nearly 1.6 million in the past year."
AT&T reported revenue for the quarter of $38.9 billion versus $40.5 billion a year ago.
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