AT&T Ups DSL Downloads, Enhances DVR

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AT&T this month plans to upgrade all customers on its highest-speed Internet tier to 12 Mbps -- from 10 Mbps -- for no extra cost, as well as introduce new DVR management and video-on-demand features for U-verse TV.

According to the telco, all residential and business U-verse High Speed Internet Max customers have been given increased downstream speeds of up to 12 Mbps. Last fall, AT&T began offering an 18-Mbps downstream digital subscriber line service, but not all customers are eligible to receive that level of service depending on their distance from the DSL access equipment in their area.

In any case, AT&T's DSL-based broadband will continue to fall well short of the top speeds touted by cable operators' DOCSIS 3.0-based services -- with Cablevision Systems, for one, promising up to 101 Mbps. AT&T also trails its industry peer, Verizon Communications, whose FiOS Internet currently tops out at 50-Mbps down.

The telco's Total Home DVR feature for U-verse TV, provided through Microsoft's Mediaroom IPTV platform, will be expanded market-by-market in the upcoming weeks to add the ability to schedule and manage recordings from any U-verse receiver rather than only from the primary DVR set-top.

AT&T also said it will soon upgrade its Web-based DVR management interface, provided through Yahoo. Among other things, the upgrade will enable faster browsing of the program guide, sorting the program guide by genre; targeted search by title, actor, and channel; personalizing favorite channels. AT&T was one of the first providers to introduce online DVR management features, in November 2006.

On the VOD front, AT&T has added an application that lets customers view on-demand recommendations based on their past video rental history and view a list of the top 10 VOD titles U-verse TV customers are renting. The On Demand Top Picks feature will be available to customers in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Hartford, St. Louis, Atlanta, Sacramento, San Antonio and Austin within the next few weeks; the remaining markets are scheduled to receive the upgrade in 2010.

In addition, AT&T announced that during July, U-verse TV customers would receive unlimited access to Starz Entertainment's flagship channel for no extra charge.

AT&T earlier this year said it would slow down the expansion of U-verse network, as part of reducing its overall capital spending. The company said its U-verse network build would reach its previously announced target of 30 million living units in 2011, a year later than originally planned.

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