At AT&T's fourth quarter earnings call today, chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre provided good news for all those eagerly anticipating U-verse service. He stated that AT&T plans to ramp up deployment of their U-verse service and intends to pass 8 million living units by year-end 2007. Currently, AT&T U-verse services are only available in 11 markets.
However, there was mixed news for those in the Bellsouth area. When asked about their video strategy for Bellsouth, AT&T stated the strategy was not yet concrete but they would look to develop that out in the months to come. On a positive note, Whitacre stated that Bellsouth contains a significant amount of fiber plant and they anticipate a quicker rollout compared to the SBC footprint.
Once again confirming AT&T's commitment to their network implementation, Whitacre stated, "We're committed to IPTV in a fiber-to-the-node network. It's the right architecture for the long-term. We see it in the field. It works and it delivers to our customers."
According to AT&T, the U-verse service has been well received by customers. "Our customer feedback thus far has been very good and in fact, we think it out-performs cable in side-by-side comparisons." AT&T also noted that 70% of their customers are subscribing to higher-end video packages and AT&T's fastest broadband speeds.
AT&T's U-verse service was a hot topic during the question period and when asked whether AT&T has a plan B for their video services, Whitacre reasserted, "Our fiber-to-the-node architecture is performing better than we anticipated it would. We're actually seeing better bandwidth then we had forecast. And we're seeing that better bandwidth in both the short and long loop links."
He went on, "It works and it works well. The network is good. All of the delays and some of the difficulties we've had are due to programming and we think we're just about to get all of them solved. Everything seems to be working well so this is our plan A and plan A we're sticking with. We like this stuff."