AT&T Pushing IP HD Into 15 Markets

AT&T said it plans to ramp up an HD version of its fledgling U-verse IPTV service in up to 15 markets before the end of this calendar year. In a conference call on Monday with investors, the telco gave an "upbeat assessment of the outlook for its IPTV service," according to the Financial Times.

The results of AT&T's third quarter financial numbers detailed in the call sought to highlight gains by its Cingular Wireless joint venture, as AT&T continues to migrate to IP-based services. AT&T said it plans to upgrade its 3,000 current subscribers in its first test market, San Antonio, Texas, to HD service by late November and expects to launch its "HDTV U-verse services" in up to 14 other unnamed markets across its 13-state region by New Year's.

AT&T began IPTV services in San Antonio last June, and while the telecom reportedly said in the conference call the response has been "highly positive," the service has received some mixed reviews among its subs, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

AT&T is investing in a fiber optic network (dubbed Project Lightspeed) to serve as technical support for its U-verse platform as a means to compete with traditional MSOs such as Time Warner and Comcast. AT&T is awaiting FCC approval on its purchase of BellSouth, which was set to come as early as Nov. 3 (although at press time, a last-minute snafu involving a conflict of interest with one commissioner could delay the vote).