AT&T Misses U-verse TV Target

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AT&T fell short of its goal of offering U-verse TV in 15 markets by the end of the year, announcing the availability of the service in four Indiana markets Thursday: Indianapolis, Anderson, Bloomington and Muncie.

The Indiana rollouts bring AT&T to 11 markets where the TV service is available and being advertised -- at least in limited areas. For example, in the Indianapolis metropolitan statistical area, U-verse TV isn’t actually available within the city itself, but only in parts of the towns of Beech Grove, Carmel, Fishers, Greenwood, Lawrence and Noblesville.

In October, the telco told investors it would begin commercially offering the service in a total of 15 markets by the end of 2006, but now, AT&T confirmed that it will hit only 11 by New Year’s Eve.

The other areas where AT&T has announced U-verse TV availability are its initial test market of San Antonio, as well as some Houston neighborhoods; four cities near San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; and parts of the Connecticut markets of New Haven, Stamford and Hartford.

AT&T is deploying infrastructure for U-verse TV elsewhere in the 13 states where it and its legacy companies provide telephone service, including several suburban Chicago communities; Milwaukee; Anaheim, Calif.; and Reno, Nev. But the telco has met with local resistance in some areas, as cities seek to require it to pay for cable-franchise licenses. AT&T has insisted that U-verse TV isn’t a cable-TV service and should not be regulated as one.

The city of Milwaukee, for example, filed a lawsuit Dec. 20 that sought a preliminary injunction preventing AT&T from offering U-verse TV until an agreement on cable-franchise fees is worked out. AT&T spokesman Brad Mays claimed that the Milwaukee lawsuit and others filed by local governments have not slowed the rollout of the TV service.

As of Sept. 30, AT&T reported having a total of 3,000 U-verse TV subscribers, all located in San Antonio. The company said it expects to be able to offer U-verse TV to 19 million homes by the end of 2008.

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