Sunday, May 7, 2006

AT&T Outlines Satellite, Fixed Wireless and WiMAX Plans

AT&T Chairman and CEO Edward E. Whitacre outlined plans to expand broadband availability beyond its wireline infrastructure throughout its traditional 13-state local service territory. The initiatives include three components:

  • SatelliteIn partnership with WildBlue, AT&T will begin offering a satellite-based broadband service later this month in select rural markets which are not served by landline broadband services. Rural satellite broadband subscribers will have three service packages to choose from, with prices ranging from $49.95 to $79.95 per month, and broadband speed options ranging up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and up to 256 Kbps upstream. WildBlue will provide equipment management, installation and distribution services

  • Project Lightspeed AT&T affirmed its intent to make its video services available -- within three years -- to more than 5.5 million low-income households as part of its initial build in 41 target
    markets. The company said low-income customers would have access to the full suite of AT&T U-Verse products, including voice, video, high-speed Internet access and, later, VoIP services.

    AT&T plans to spend approximately $4.6 billion on its Project Lightspeed initiative to reach nearly 19 million homes by year-end 2008 as part of its initial deployment.

  • WiMAX and other fixes wireless -- New deployments will begin later this year in Texas and Nevada, joining existing AT&T fixed wireless service offers in Alaska, Georgia and New Jersey. AT&T said these deployment will help it evaluate fixed wireless using both licensed and unlicensed spectrum as an option for rural and urban settings.

AT&T, which is the largest DSL provider in the U.S. with 7.4 million lines in service, said DSL is currently available to nearly four out of five customer locations within its 13-state local service area.

  • WildBlue currently utilizes the Ka-band spot beam capacity over the United States on Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite, which was launched by Arianespace in July 2004. WildBlue's service provides two-way wireless high-speed Internet access. The service is being offered by over 280 rural electric and telephone companies affiliated with the NRTC (National Rural Telephone Cooperative). Service began June 2005.

  • WildBlue's next Ka-band spot beam satellite, WildBlue-1, has been scheduled for launch aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle in Q4 2006. WildBlue-1, manufactured by Space Systems/Loral, will approximately triple WildBlue's customer capacity, and is expected to handle WildBlue's continuing rapid customer growth into 2008 and beyond. WildBlue-1 is a 4.7 metric ton high power satellite based on Space Systems/Loral's 1300 spacecraft bus and provides Ka-band spot beam capacity over the contiguous United States. Spot beam Ka-band satellites are a key component in WildBlue's low-cost wireless broadband infrastructure.

See also