AT&T Doubles Down on Fiber Diet
With its DSL subscriber base still dwindling rapidly, AT&T is relying more and more on its ongoing FTTH buildout to spur broadband growth.
In its first-quarter earnings release and presentation late Wednesday, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) reported that it added a total of 82,000 broadband subs in the three-month period despite shedding another 72,000 legacy DSL customers. That's because it netted 154,000 IP broadband subs, consisting of a combination of FTTH and FTTN customers.
As a result, the telco ended March with 14.4 million total broadband subs, split between 13.6 million IP subs and 816,000 DSL subs, down from 4.5 million DSL subs just four years ago. The company, which is the third largest US broadband provider behind Comcast and Charter, has not reported how many FTTH customers it's signed up yet or how many of its subs are opting for 1 Gig service.
But AT&T did disclose that it now passes more than 8 million customer locations with fiber, with the vast majority of those being residences. It also said that its fiber lines now pass within 1,000 feet of 8 million business locations across the nation.
AT&T Senior EVP & CFO John Stephens said the company expects to pass 10 million homes with fiber by the end of the year. It's doing this as it strives to meet its commitment of passing 12.5 million customer locations with fiber by the end of 2019, under the conditions imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when it approved AT&T's purchase of DirecTV three years ago. Company officials have said they intend to exceed that commitment and pass 14 million homes and businesses with FTTH lines by then. (See AT&T Preps for Big Fiber Build .)
Speaking on the company's earnings call, Stephens also said AT&T is seeing broadband penetration rates of "nearly 50%" in fiber-built markets where it's been marketing the product for at least two years. He noted that this penetration rate is "quite a bit higher" than the penetration rate for non-fiber areas.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading
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Big US cable provider reports that 13.3% of customers who can get it now take 1-Gig service, with 46% of new high-speed data subs signing up for it in Q3. Those numbers translate to 580,000 gig customers.
Big Toronto-based cable, wireless and media company has started offering 1.5-Gig service as it deploys GPON-based fiber in 'strategic areas' and preps for DOCSIS 4.0 over its legacy HFC network.
Fourth-largest US cable operator aims to be '10-gig-ready' in the next 18 months, thanks to its aggressive FTTP upgrade strategy.
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