AT&T this week for the first time got more specific about the company’s ongoing deployment of “Gigapower” gigabit broadband service, stating that 1.6 million subscribers can now get access to the ultra-fast service. While AT&T’s overall fixed-line CAPEX has been dropping, the company continues to push fiber into housing developments, college campuses, and other areas where deployment costs are minimal. Speaking to investors during the first earnings call, AT&T CTO John Stephens said the company was on schedule to meet the commitments attached to the DirecTV acquisition.
“With GigaPower we’re at 1.6 million fiber-to-the-premises locations that are active today and we’re on track with our FCC commitments and are confident we’ll meet those on a timely basis,” Stephens said. “Our capex plans for this year and our longer-term multi-year plans include fully funding all of that activity so we’re optimistic about that.”
Keep in mind that AT&T already served roughly a million customer locations with fiber before it even announced this latest expansion (which at one point AT&T threatened to withhold if the FCC passed net neutrality rules). AT&T has offered fiber to the home connections for a large part of the last decade to some developments, though we’ve noted how those connections were capped at traditional DSL speeds to provide a “consistent user experience.”
Stephens also noted that the company is making good progress converting customers onto the U-Verse platform from traditional DSL.
“On the broadband side, we’re through most of the opportunity of where they have DSL or where they have the choice of either GigaPower or high speed broadband products,” Stephens said. “About 95 percent have already transferred, but the rest of it is legacy DSL footprint.”
AT&T, like Verizon, has made a concerted effort to back away from unwanted DSL customers to focus on wireless. Still, Stephens promised that AT&T will “continue to support (legacy DSL customers) and continue to provide good service,” adding that “the team has worked hard to upgrade people to the higher speeds to get better quality.”