AT&T takes a multi-technology approach to broadband - as does NBN Co

April 23, 2014
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There has been some predictable excitement about AT&T's recent announcement that it plans to increase its fibre to the premises deployment in a number of US cities and claims from some tech bloggers here in Australia that this means AT&T has abandoned its fibre to the node technology platform. That is not the case at all.

The majority of AT&T's planned FTTP build is to areas that do not have AT&T's FTTN service U-verse.

AT&T's focus is  expanding its FTTP footprint in carefully selected areas where, for the most part, they have not yet deployed FTTN and where the economics are favourable both from a customer demand (revenue) point of view and, most importantly, from a cost point of view.

In most cases this means the deployment is aerial - ie on poles rather than underground.

The reason they are not, at least at the present time, replacing the FTTN deployment with FTTP is because while it offers lower speeds than their cable (HFC) competition it is not simply maintaining its market share but as announced today increasing net subscribers by over 600,000 for the last consecutive seven quarters.

Even in areas where they are deploying FTTP, the technology used by AT&T in brownfield MDUs is almost entirely fibre to the basement, ie a "node" is installed in the telecom cupboard of the building and connects to the copper LAN in the building.

in other words, AT&T is using what we would call a Multi Technology Model, using the technology platform that makes the most sense economically in each particular location - just as the NBN Co is planning to do in Australia.

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