Lightwave reports that AT&T has announced a big fiber to the premises project in the Houston area — and it confirms the worst about what all this statewide video franchise hoopla is all about. It’s about the right of the phone giants (and, under the pending version of Louisiana’s HB 699, the cable companies, too) to cherry-pick and red-line neighborhoods either into or out of the high-speed network services world.
The first couple of paragraphs in the Lightwave story spell it out:
June 21, 2006 San Antonio, TX — AT&T Inc. announced an agreement with General Growth Properties to build a fiber-to-the- premises (FTTP) network to deliver the AT&T U-verse suite of services — which includes integrated digital TV, high-speed Internet, and voice services — to a 20,000-home master-planned community near Houston.
The agreement, AT&T’s largest such contract to date, underscores one of the company’s key strategic initiatives for connecting customers to its Project Lightspeed fiber footprint. It will enable AT&T to make Internet Protocol-based communications and entertainment services available to the estimated 65,000 residents who will move into Bridgeland, a 10,000-acre residential development currently under construction.
Yep, AT&T is ALL about skimming the cream off the market top and leaving the rest of the area gasping for bandwidth. This is the AT&T target: green field (that is, spanking new), upscale developments. I wonder how easy it will be for, say, a cable company to get permission to run their fiber and/or coax lines in that development? Reads like AT&T has gotten themselves an exclusive agreement with the developer.
So much for the company’s hunger for competition.
Governor Blanco should read this article and think long and hard about signing HB 699.
HB 699 will make the digital divide the official state policy in Louisiana. It’s already AT&T’s official corporate policy.