AT&T, DirecTV Gear Up For Republican, Democratic Conventions

DirecTV, U-Verse to offer gavel-to-gavel, commercial-free coverage

With the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions promising to be must-see TV in the coming weeks, AT&T and DirecTV are taking a hint from C-SPAN, offering their satellite TV and U-Verse customers gavel-to-gavel coverage of both proceedings.

The Republican National Convention, where controversial businessman Donald Trump is expected to be officially crowned as the party nominee for President, is scheduled to air live from Cleveland July 18-21. The Democratic National Convention is slated for July 25-28 in Philadelphia, where former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to receive the nomination from her party.

DirecTV and U-Verse customers will be able to view the conventions without commercials or interruptions. Viewers will have access to every moment of convention coverage unedited and free of commentary.

Cable customers will be able to access similar coverage from C-SPAN, which in June said it would continue the tradition of offering gavel-to-gavel, commercial- and commentary-free coverage of both conventions on its website, C-SPAN Radio and on TV. C-SPAN has provided live gavel-to-gavel coverage of both conventions on its flagship network since 1984.  

DirecTV customers can access convention coverage on channel 347, on or on their smartphone or tablet via the DirecTV app. U-verse customers can tune to channel 212/1212 (SD/HD), for the RNC; and 213/1213 (SD/HD), for the DNC, on, or on their smartphone or tablet via the U-verse app.

 “2016 will be one of the most talked about elections in our nation’s history. We’re proud to offer this service, so our customers can see convention coverage uninterrupted,” said AT&T chief content officer Dan York in a statement. “Watching these events unfold unedited and without commentary provides a unique perspective.”

AT&T is the official provider of communications, video and technology for both conventions.

The company said it has tripled LTE capacity in downtown Cleveland with 50,000 feet of new fiber, upgraded 165 LTE cell sites, installed 16 Distributed Antenna Systems and deployed small cells. Since 2012, AT&T has invested more than $1.6 billion to upgrade Ohio’s wireless and wireline networks.

In Philadelphia, convention attendees will enjoy $23 million in wireless network upgrades installed for the 2015 Papal visit. The carrier doubled LTE capacity in Center City by upgrading more than 500 LTE antennas and doubled LTE capacity inside the Wells Fargo Center, where the DNC will be held.