You've probably read the news already, it's all over the place, but in a surprise move, AT&T the largest telecom company in the US has announced a 6-year FTTH deployment plan with the aim to cover 95 to 99% of its customer base by 2014.I don't know what this means......but it sure sounds suspicious.
This is all the more surprising because, so far, AT&T appeared very reluctant to move into that space. I [Felten] was lucky enough to be able to speak with a top executive at AT&T which I am unfortunately not allowed to name. Here's a short transcript of the interview. There may be inaccuracies due to my difficulty in understanding Texas accents. I have also edited strong language to avoid shocking any readers:
Benoit: X, this is a surprising move. AT&T had previously announced that they were waiting for the regulatory environment artound FTTH to be clarified before they would invest. What made you change your mind ?
X: Well, first of all, everybody's doing it, right? We're looking like a right bunch of sh*theads, with the US falling behind and all those Frenchies and [Japanese].
Benoit: Surely that's not enough to convince the investors though...
X: F*ck the investors! The tyranny of investors is over. We have an old, and frankly decrepit access network, it needs upgrading, we might as well do it with a future proof technology, right? The investors will be grateful someday, until then..F*ck 'em.
Benoit: Uh, That is very bold indeed. So, in your business model, how long does it take to pay back?
X: Well, depending on the hypothesis, between 3 and 25 years. But who cares ? If we go bust the government will buy us out, just like they did with Bear Stearns!
Benoit: Which network architecture will you be deploying?
X: Well, they're all going for PON these days, so we have had long and intense internal debate, but ultimately we chose to deploy Point to Point Ethernet.
Benoit: Why ?
X: The name sounds cooler. "PON" sounds naff, like an 80s video game. PtoP sounds modern, more 2.0, you know! And besides if we want to please the geeks this is what they are all mumbling about over their granola.
Benoit: Last question, which areas will be the first to see this deployment happen and when?
Mr. X: Well, after a lot of collective soul searching, we've decided to focus our early deployment efforts on a little known city in South Louisiana that has shown a lot of interest Fiber To The Home. I really can't say any more at this stage.
Benoit: X, thank you very much!
I will be posting updates as more about this groundbreaking announcement unfolds.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
This is a slightly edited version of the story from Benoit Felten's inestimateable fiberevolution blog; it is worth reproducing in full. Don't stop before you get to the phrase "a little known city in South Louisiana that has shown a lot of interest Fiber To The Home." Say what?