Sunday, June 03, 2012

AT&T struggles with burden of legacy copper wireline plant

This Bloomberg item shows how the nation's largest wireline telecom player continues to struggle under the burden of its outdated legacy infrastructure.  According to the article, AT&T is trying to decide whether to sell off wireline plant where it does not offer its DSL-based U-Verse triple play product.

At issue is whether to upgrade field distribution equipment to extend the reach of U-Verse to more premises.  But doing so still relies on AT&T's decades-old, legacy copper cable plant to bring the service to residential premises.  That plant is less than optimal for transporting the higher frequency and more interference-prone VDSL protocol utilized by U-Verse, boosting the volume of customer service calls and increasing operating expenses.  The technical limitations of the copper plant also bar AT&T from reaching about 5 million residential premises that remain disconnected from the Internet, as noted in the article by Barclay Capital analyst James Ratcliffe.

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