AT&T extends business fiber services to 180 U.S. cities

AT&T (NYSE: T) has been enriching its business services offering with a new fiber footprint that can now deliver 1 Gbps services to multi-tenant office buildings in more than 180 cities in the United States.

Initially each of the buildings that have been connected to the fiber network will support symmetrical 300 Mbps with the ability to scale to 1 Gbps. These connections have been made possible thanks to the fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) portion of AT&T's Project VIP program.  

And with Ethernet, VPN and cloud growing 14.8 percent year-over-year in the first quarter to $2.6 billion in its business services segment, it's not surprising to see AT&T aggressively building out its fiber network into more buildings in its 22-state territory.

During the first-quarter earnings call, John Stephens, CFO and senior EVP of AT&T, said the company has passed 800,000 business customer locations with fiber, with a specific focus on both existing and new customers that expressed a desire for fiber-based services.

"What we did is we built a significant amount of those to customer order, where customers, existing customers, new customers order that and want us to build," Stephens said during the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "But we also built a measurable amount to, if you will, into areas where we were confident we could sell and be effective. In those areas that we've built and spread the copper before we had a contract in place, we are now aggressively selling into those areas, and we have been pleased about the ability to penetrate those buildings and to sell into those."

Stephens added that in penetrating buildings with fiber-based services, the telco has typically leveraged initial customer wins to potentially attract others to the service.

"You can go into a building and it might have 20 potential customers in there, and you have to sell to the first one," Stephens said. "And once you get the first one sold, you can come back and then have some credibility with selling to the second, the third one."

AT&T is making headway with a number of customers for its fiber services. Austin-based Modern Business Solutions, a provider of technology solutions for businesses, said in a release that the fiber service allows for quickly uploading large files, even those that are larger than 1GB, for example.

By increasing its fiber presence into more buildings, AT&T is also increasing its capability to sell more Ethernet services. According to Vertical Systems Group's recent fiber availability survey, the availability of fiber was cited as the No. 1 competitive advantage a provider can have in delivering Ethernet.

Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group, told FierceTelecom in a previous interview that as AT&T and other large and competitive providers seek out new Ethernet growth opportunities, extending their fiber networks into more locations will be a top priority.

"When asked about what's the growth inhibitor and challenges for growth, their answer was expanding their networks and the fiber footprint and trying to get it to more places as possible," Cochran said.

For more:
- see the release

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