AT&T Ties 18-Mbps DSL To U-verse TV


AT&T will kick up the speed of its highest-tier digital subscriber line service by 80%, introducing a broadband service next week with 18-Mbps downloads that will be available only to customers who also subscribe to U-verse TV.

The U-verse High Speed Internet Max 18 service will available starting Nov. 9 to “eligible residential customers.” AT&T said the majority of customers would be able to receive the 18-Mbps service. Previously its fastest retail offering has provided up to 10 Mbps downstream

Max 18, which provides up to 1.5 Mbps upstream, will be $65 a month as part of a bundle with AT&T U-verse TV. Installation is included for no additional charge for new U-verse TV customers.

“AT&T is keeping itself competitive for the customers who want speed and connectivity,” independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan wrote in a research note. The move to bundle the 18-Mbps tier with video “will drive more customers to AT&T's U-verse bundled services. This creates a more stable customer, less likely to switch away to a competitor.”

AT&T had 14.8 million broadband lines in service at the end of the third quarter, up 1.1 million year over year. The U-verse network now passes 14 million living units in 15 states, up from 11 million as of June 30.

In addition to wireline service, AT&T provides U-verse Internet customers free access its nationwide Wi-Fi network, currently more than 17,000 hot spots. On Thursday, the company said it would acquire Wayport, a provider of managed Wi-Fi services, for about $275 million in cash, to bring AT&T’s footprint to nearly 20,000 hotspots.

In October, AT&T announced marketing agreements with Wal-Mart Stores and Circuit City under which the retailers will sell U-verse TV and Internet services in more than 600 retail locations.