Tom Wheeler embarrasses himself claiming AT&T is making a major concession on upgrading to fttb. I don’t know if Wheeler has been bamboozled or is telling a politician’s truth. AT&T’s 8-12M premises are about what they would offer anyway. G.fast is ready in 2016 to bring speeds of 400-700 megabits for $75-$250 anywhere there’s fiber to the basement. Randall Stephenson would be stupid not to upgrade at that price. Randall isn’t stupid.
Most of the 8.3M homes promised already have fiber to the basement, which AT&T has routinely installed for most of the last decade in “all new builds.” (Randall Stephenson, then CFO, in 2004.) The new builds during the four years of the program plus the fiber run as part of AT&T’s Project VIP reach more than enough homes to meet this figure.
AT&T decided at least a year ago to do the upgrades, whether or not DirecTV is approved. They’ve already done the expensive part of the build, running the fiber to the basement. They were ready to go two years ago but decided to wait for G.fast to be ready. There are dozens of G.fast trials underway with British Telecom ready to do 15M lines starting early in 2016.
If you know the technology and industry, it becomes obvious that T will do all of most of the homes whether or not the DirecTV deal goes down. I’ve confirmed through several sources that’s exactly what AT&T plans. Cable is widely going to 400 megabits down (shared) in the next 12 months and a gigabit (shared) soon after. T needs to stay in the game.
Wheeler may not know his comments (below) are somewhere between disingenuous and completely bogus. AT&T’s Jim Cicconi is one of history’s best lobbyists and regularly convinces people 2+2=5.