Analysis: AT&T Expands High Speed U-Verse to 5 more cities + Digital Life Smart Home new markets

AT&T is expanding its Higher Speed U-verse Internet service to five more states. In addition to the 17 states where the new speeds have already launched, U-verse High Speed Internet Power will be available to eligible residential and small business customers in selected markets in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.  High Speed U-Verse subscribers will get up to 45 Mbps downstream and 6 Mbps upstream, beginning 29 September 2013.  AT&T plans to upgrade top tier U-verse speeds to up to 100 Mbps in the future.

Comment:  Note that the “last mile”  (or last few kilometers) U-Verse transport is over 2 wire copper -with VDSL vectoring-  for all but greenfield build-outs. The greenfield – new buildouts- will get fiber to the premises, according to AT&T.  AT&T’s move forward with U-verse is another example of telcos leveraging existing, inexpensive copper lines, vectored VDSL technology, and fiber to the cabinet to achieve speeds up to 100 Mbps.

In other AT&T news, the telco is launching its Digital Life smart home service in Milwaukee, Charlotte, Hartford, Jacksonville, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Including the new markets, Digital Life will be available in 45 markets, with plans to launch the service in up to 50 markets by the end of 2013.

With Digital Life, customers can use their existing home broadband provider, and any wireless phone service, and enjoy the security and convenience of a home management system with the flexibility to meet their unique needs.

— Actively Protected & In Control: The foundation of Digital Life is complete home security with 24/7 professional monitoring that allows you to know what is happening at home, or where an event has occurred. Through AT&T-owned and operated, U.S.-based monitoring centers, professionals will respond to emergencies and alert police and fire authorities.

— Seamlessly Connected: Digital Life is an all-digital, fully integrated, wireless home management system, giving customers flexibility to manage their home from their smartphone, tablet or PC. Our takeover module lets you easily extend your existing security system and investment. The Digital Life application is available on most web browsers. Apps are available for iOS, as well as Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phones. To ensure customers’ privacy is protected, Digital Life has a secure log in system each time the app is opened from any Internet-connected device.

— Amazingly Simple & Intuitive: A user-friendly application was designed to be as simple as possible, making it easier than ever to manage your home. The Digital Life application gives customers control over cameras, door locks, lights, thermostats, small appliances and more by setting alerts or programs to manage your home. It’s all integrated into one simple system.

— Personalized & Flexible: Digital Life provides total flexibility so you can personalize your home to adapt to everyday life — with custom notifications and scheduled tasks. Add devices and solutions anytime, as your needs grow, or your lifestyle changes.

“AT&T remains committed to providing our customers with easy, fast and affordable ways that allows them to manage and secure their homes all from the touch of their smartphones, tablets and PCs,” said Kevin Petersen, president, Digital Life, Inc. “With the launch of these six new markets, we’re looking forward to making Digital Life available to more customers throughout the country.” 

Comment:  AT&T (as well as VZ) can now offer a 5-play for residential customers:  high speed internet, VoIP, and video services using U-Verse (FiOS in the case of VZ) and wireless/mobile 3G/4G-LTE service using their cellular network.  Sprint can’t make this claim as it sold off its local telco wireline operation to Embarq, which was acquired by Century Link several years ago.