TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AT&T Says Won't Need Fiber to the Home

AT&T Says Won't Need Fiber to the Home

Reuters News Wire (
Tue, 05 Dec 2006 11:52:47 -0600

Top phone company AT&T Inc. shrugged off concerns on Tuesday that it
would need to build a more expensive, all-fiber network to handle an
expected surge in high-speed Internet and video traffic.

AT&T is currently upgrading its networks to deliver an Internet-based
video service called U-Verse to compete with cable companies.

But unlike No. 2 player Verizon Communications, which is launching a
similar service by building a "fiber to the home" network, it is
making use of existing copper lines to save costs.

"Our view at this point is that we're not going to have go 'fiber to
the home.' We're pleased with the bandwidth that we're seeing over
copper," Chief Financial Officer Richard Lindner told a Credit Suisse

"On average, at this point, we're producing about 25 megabits (per
second). But in many many locations, we're producing substantially
more than that."

Some analysts have said AT&T's method is more efficient, while others
have said it would need to upgrade its network again when more
consumers start to watch high-definition channels and download movies,
requiring increased bandwidth.

AT&T is also preparing to merge with BellSouth Corp., a move that
would consolidate its ownership of wireless venture Cingular and
reinforce its position as the biggest U.S. telecoms service provider.

Lindner said he hoped the BellSouth merger would be approved at a U.S.
Federal Communications Commission meeting on December 20.

"Certainly, from our standpoint, it would be our hope that the merger
would get approved and we can close and move on at that point," he

"That's certainly our goal ... to have an approval on the 20th. If it
does not happen on the 20th, potentially it could slip into January."

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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