AT&T said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that if it’s allowed to buy satellite broadcaster DirecTV, it will expand fiber connections into more homes. AT&T said it would upgrade 2 million additional locations with fiber, and expand high speed broadband coverage overall to 13 million locations, reports the AP.
AT&T said it expects to save $1.6 billion a year by linking up with DirecTV. The biggest savings would come from lower costs for TV programming.
AT&T announced in April that it could build out Gigapower in 25 cities in its local-phone operating territory, depending on discussions with local authorities and projections of demand.
Today, AT&T supplies 16.5 million homes and businesses with fixed broadband connections, mostly using their high-speed DSL service called U-verse.
DirecTV’s board of directors agreed last month to sell to AT&T for $48.5 billion, but the deal needs approval from regulators. Expanding broadband access and raising speeds is a federal policy goal, so AT&T’s offer could interest regulators at the Federal Communications Commission.
It hasn’t said how many homes and businesses that involves, making it difficult to assess the relative size of the newly proposed 2-million-location increase.
Comcast has 22.6 million pay-TV subscribers to AT&T’s 5.6 million U-verse subscribers, while Time Warner has 11.4 million TV subscribers and DirecTV has 20.3 million, according to Leichtman Research Group.
The gap between Comcast and AT&T is closer in broadband, with Comcast having 21.1 million cable modem subscribers to AT&T’s 16.5 million subscribers, mostly using DSL.
AT&T has never even hinted that they may be interested in DirecTV rooftops as a potential platform for delivering mobile broadband.
Dish, by contrast, is expected to Launch Commercial Fixed Wireless in July. Dish announced in December plans to enter into a fixed mobile broadband trial with Sprint. It’s similar to Dish’s deal with nTelos. The Sprint trial network is expected to start by mid-2014 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Dish is still looking for a partner to host its AWS spectrum. It also has cleared deals with Disney for a streaming video service that could cost $20-$30/month.
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