AT&T Broadband confirmed that it does not plan to purchase any additional
customer-premises equipment through the end of March -- a move that could impact
the MSO's major CPE vendors, including Antec Corp., Motorola Broadband
Communications Sector, 3Com Corp. and Com21 Inc.
In the case of three specific items -- cable modems, telephony NIUs
(network-interface units) and digital set-top boxes -- AT&T Broadband has
enough on hand to meet its quarterly numbers, company spokesman Steve Lang
'For those particular [items], we've told vendors we don't need any more this
quarter,' Lang said. 'We expect that we will be able to continue installing new
services through the first quarter without any additional orders at the rates we
need to in order to meet our year-end goals.'
On Monday, AT&T Corp. told Wall Street it expects AT&T Broadband to
boost its base of revenue-generating units by 25 percent by the end of 2001. For
2000, the MSO added about 2.3 million RGUs, versus 1.3 million in 1999. RGUs
include broadband-telephony, high-speed-data and digital-video subscribers.
David Robinson, newly appointed president of Motorola Broadband and one of
AT&T Broadband's largest vendor sources, downplayed the news.
'AT&T Broadband is continuing to tightly manage its inventory and, if
anything, has plans to increase the number of revenue-generating units this
year,' he said. 'We are moving forward and supporting them in every way possible
so that they achieve their goals. We'll work closely with them, as we always
have, to keep their inventory in control.'
Industry observers said part of the reason for AT&T Broadband's halt of
CPE purchases in the first quarter could be tied to the tuner and memory
shortage of early to mid-2000, when operators stocked up on the gear.
The MSO's purchase delays and stoppages in the fourth quarter of 2000 caused
Wall Street-sized headaches for some of its vendors. At the time, AT&T
Broadband said that after the former MediaOne Group Inc. systems' inventory
software was changed over, a companywide audit revealed that many properties had
well more than 60 days' supply of a wide variety of equipment. As a result, the
decision was made to cut back.
Antec -- which saw its stock get pummeled in November due to the purchasing
delays from AT&T Broadband -- is expected to release earnings Wednesday
(Feb. 7). Antec officials could not be reached for further