AT&T's Donovan: Satellite a fourth dimension to delivering linear video

Satellite, presumably via the acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), will add a fourth dimension to AT&T's (NYSE: T) video delivery portfolio, John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T architecture, technology and operations, said during Barclays 2014 Global Technology Conference.

John Donovan AT&T SVP

Donovan

While declining to offer any specific updates on the status of the carrier's acquisition of the nation's largest satellite provider, Donovan did offer some insights into how it will impact AT&T's video business, now driven by AT&T U-verse.

"Delivery over satellites is an efficient way to deliver linear video," Donovan said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the conference.

On the other hand, he added, it's just a piece of a fabric AT&T is weaving in the video space.

"When you just think about contextually your delivery vehicles, you've got four: you have satellite delivery, you have broadband delivery, you have wireless delivery over Wi-Fi and over regulated spectrum and then you have different lengths of format … (to) fit the screen sizes. I think in the future you really have to contemplate the full range of that solution as people become increasingly mobile."

Specifically on the wireline side, Donovan said there is evidence that there is demand for 1 Gigabit bandwidth services.

"I don't see a lot right now nor do I see a lot on the imminent horizon, but customers love speed, they're addicted to speed, and if they're buying it, that's a good NPV (Net Present Value)   … and I think it's the right thing for us to do to invest," he said.

That investment has been made easier by technology advances such as vectoring that have lowered the cost of delivering higher speed services.

"All of a sudden a little bit of an investment by our supply chain … and we start to take a 25 meg on a copper pair and then we move it to 45 and then 75 and then 100, which is on the drawing board. All of the sudden copper extends its life and the same is happening on fiber as we go from technologies like GPON," he said.

The final factor that portends ultra-high speed success is better use of software to improve the deployment portion of the business.

Technicians are now dispatched with tablets that are constantly updated to tell them what to do so "our average technicians and our best technicians are converging," creating "efficiencies in the labor side of our business which get better every year," he concluded.

For more:
- Seeking Alpha has this transcript

Related articles: 
AT&T-DirecTV combo promises new challenges for Comcast-TWC merger
AT&T tells FCC it will proceed with 21-city FTTP build
AT&T: DirecTV deal good for rural customers, has nothing to do with Comcast-TWC

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