AT&T right now said it can convey fiber Web to some million extra houses and companies by the tip of this 12 months. “In 2021, AT&T plans to extend its fiber footprint by an extra 3 million buyer areas throughout greater than 90 metro areas,” AT&T stated. This is able to elevate AT&T’s fiber deployment to about 18 million houses and companies.
This possible means the three million new areas will primarily include houses and companies near AT&T’s current fiber installations as an alternative of houses and companies in totally unserved areas. We requested AT&T for extra particulars on the deliberate fiber deployment and can replace this text if we get extra data.
The fiber announcement is a little bit of a turnabout from mid-2019, when an AT&T govt stated, “We’ll proceed to put money into fiber, however we’ll do it primarily based on the incremental, financial case. We’re not operating to any family goal.”
Most of AT&T territory nonetheless lacks fiber
Whereas 3 million areas is a considerable buildout, there are tens of hundreds of thousands of houses with out fiber in AT&T’s 21-state wireline service space. There have been 52.97 million households in AT&T’s home-Web service space and 14.93 million of them had fiber-to-the-home entry, the Communications Employees of America (CWA) union instructed Ars in October 2020 when AT&T announced the discontinuation of legacy DSL providers over copper telephone strains.
Of the 38 million households in AT&T territory that didn’t have fiber-to-the dwelling at the moment, 22.6 million had entry to VDSL (aka fiber-to-the-node), and 13.9 million had the older DSL know-how that’s now not supplied to new prospects, the CWA stated. Poor folks have been disproportionately excluded from AT&T’s high-speed Web upgrades, research by the Nationwide Digital Inclusion Alliance has discovered.
AT&T was required to convey fiber to 12.5 million locations by mid-2019 underneath circumstances imposed on its buy of DirecTV and ended up hitting 14 million across the identical time as that deadline.
AT&T has let its copper telephone community deteriorate by neglect over the previous decade, leading to poor service high quality and prolonged outages, a report commissioned by the California state authorities discovered. AT&T prospects in low-income areas and areas with out substantial competitors fared the worst, the California report discovered.
AT&T has been quickly shedding workers the previous few years despite promising to make use of a company tax reduce to create jobs. AT&T had 230,000 employees as of January 31, down from 268,000 two years previously. The layoffs are one large cause that AT&T has didn’t correctly keep giant parts of its copper community or improve extra of that community to fiber.
AT&T’s deliberate fiber-to-the-home upgrades this 12 months will apparently goal areas that at the least have the semi-modern fiber-to-the-node community, leaving folks in different elements of AT&T territory with outdated know-how.
“We have got the chance to transform our VDSL… to fiber-to-the-home” in areas the place AT&T already has fiber within the neighborhood, AT&T CFO John Stephens stated at an investor occasion a number of days in the past (see Looking for Alpha’s transcript).
AT&T fiber has been standard with prospects in areas the place cable firms beforehand supplied the quickest service. Whereas cable and fiber each present quick obtain speeds, cable networks are nonetheless far behind fiber on add speeds. “In areas the place AT&T has deployed its fiber community, the corporate has 10 % increased market share than its rivals,” AT&T stated right now. However in lots of areas the place AT&T would not face a aggressive menace from cable broadband, the corporate has been much less keen to improve its community.
At year-end 2020, AT&T had 4.95 million fiber-to-the-premises Web prospects, 8.74 million fiber-to-the-node prospects, and 407,000 legacy DSL prospects.
Fiber builds are essential each for wired Web and for backhaul to AT&T’s wi-fi community, Stephens famous. At this time’s announcement from AT&T spent extra time on AT&T’s HBO Max and 5G cellular plans than on the fiber-to-the-premises development. In a recent spectrum auction, AT&T submitted profitable bids for nationwide entry to 80 MHz of “C-Band” spectrum within the higher a part of the three GHz band.
“The corporate plans to start deploying the primary 40MHz of this spectrum by the tip of 2021,” AT&T stated right now. “AT&T expects to spend $6-8 billion in capex deploying C-band spectrum, with the overwhelming majority of the spend occurring from 2022 to 2024.”
AT&T’s capital expenditures had been $15.7 billion in 2020, down from $19.6 billion in 2019 and over $21 billion yearly in earlier years. AT&T stated it plans “capital expenditures within the $18 billion vary” in 2021.