AT&T today rebranded its fiber-based GigaPower service to simply “AT&T Fiber.” The company also added 11 more metro markets to its fiber rollout plans, a move the company said will “exceed the 12.5 million locations” the company had planned to reach with fiber by mid-2019 as part of the conditions it agreed to with the FCC to close its acquisition of DirecTV.
Interestingly, AT&T also hinted that it could use a range of network technologies to expand the reach of its 1 Gbps internet service, now branded AT&T Fiber. “Customer demand for high-speed connectivity is exceeding even our high expectations. Today we’re also introducing the AT&T Fiber umbrella brand, which lets us bring ultra-fast internet to even more residential and business customers through a mix of the latest network technologies,” David Christopher, chief marketing officer of the AT&T Entertainment Group, said in a release from the company.
“Under the AT&T Fiber umbrella brand we will use a variety of network technologies to connect more homes, apartments and business customer locations to ultra-fast and low-latency internet speeds,” the company said in its release. “We will announce additional network technologies and products in our AT&T Fiber umbrella brand in the near future.”
Analysts at Wells Fargo cheered AT&T’s move. “For AT&T the timing of this announcement makes sense to us, as it is coming ahead of the Over the Top (OTT) wireless / broadband plans. In T's view, the critical part of the bundle is wireless (where it has over 100MM subs) and the broadband pipe to the home (where users can use OTT video services),” wrote Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche in a research note issued shortly after AT&T’s announcement. “In our view, ahead of the launch of these plans, there is a real incentive to illustrate to potential customers' its commitment to spending on the broadband pipe. If AT&T is able to capture BOTH the wireless and broadband user with this offering, it makes that revenue all the more ‘sticker’ longer term.”
AT&T’s 11 additional metro markets for its fiber service stretch from Gainesville and Panama City in Florida to Lafayette in Louisiana to Corpus Christi in Texas. Click here for the full list of markets.
The telco said the new markets increases its commitment to bring fiber to at least 67 metro areas, with plans to launch in 45 metros by the end of this year. The carrier added that it has already launched services in “parts” of 29 of the nation’s largest metro areas at over 3 million locations. “We’re on track to exceed the 12.5 million locations planned by mid-2019,” AT&T said.
AT&T agreed to expand its FTTP service to 12.5 million customer locations as part of its acquisition of DirecTV. “This condition also responds to the harm of the loss of a video competitor in areas where AT&T and DIRECTV had directly competed before the merger by providing a pathway for increased competition from services that rely on broadband Internet to deliver video,” the FCC said last year in its approval of the transaction.
AT&T executives have previously hinted that the telco would exceed the 12.5 million goal. "There's particulars within the agreement that allow us to build -- count so many greenfield builds, count so many more upgrades in the existing IP broadband footprint -- to utilize in some cases multiple dwelling units, and then in many cases require some level, or a significant level I should say, of new builds," AT&T CFO John Stephens said in July during AT&T’s quarterly conference call with investors. "When you're done with that, you may still have some profitable builds that are at or above the 12.5 million locations commitment and you may go ahead and build those. We'll see where that goes over time and we'll see where that leads us."
- see this AT&T release