Uncommon Wisdom

Feb 9 2009   3:46PM GMT

AT&T’s U-verse: The beginning of the end?

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

AT&T’s new deal with DirecTV may be the beginning of a shift away from U-verse toward the “Homezone” satellite-and-IP/VoD hybrid model, according to rumors we’ve heard.

The problems with U-verse are that the service has an extremely high pass cost—on the order of 4 to 6 times that of cable—and that the limits of DSL in delivery of both content and Internet make U-verse very vulnerable to DOCSIS 3.0 competition. The IPTV model has become more complex and costly over time, and faces its greatest challenges in conjunction with interactivity and HD programming.

We’re also hearing that more EU operators are looking at the linear RF broadcast model of FiOS. Cable has a parallel channel for TV, and competing with cable without that capability is likely to be increasingly difficult no matter where you are in the world. Some cable operators, like Time-Warner, are also now looking at the linear RF FTTH model for green fields, which would be a blow to IPTV supporters.

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