In the race for faster home broadband, it seems phone companies are always playing catch up with cable companies. Today, AT&T (s T) took a major step forward and announced that it is making its new 45 Mbps U-Verse broadband service available in 40 new markets. These upgrades are part of AT&T’s Project Velocity (announced in 2012) to upgrade AT&T’s broadband networks.
The company eventually wants to offer U-verse at speeds of up to 100 Mbps. For now, the new upgraded service will have speeds of up to 45 Mbps (downstream) and 6 Mbps (upstream). As part of a triple play service it will cost about $50 a month, but if you don’t want AT&T voice and TV service, U-verse is going to cost around $76 a month by itself.
AT&T launched this higher speed tier in July 2013 in California and Nevada. Today, it announced 40 new markets spread across Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, North & South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin amongst other states. Cities such as Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans, Charlotte, Madison, Memphis and Chattanooga are on the list of locations where consumers can order this faster broadband tier.
As need for more bandwidth increases, AT&T has found itself falling behind the cable competitors. Many of its DSL customers have been defecting from its slower platform to faster options from others. Cable companies have started offering higher tiers — 50 Mbps at more affordable prices — and that is prompting phone companies and others to up their speeds as well.
According to Leichtman Research Group, during the most recent quarter (ending June 30, 2013), “AT&T and Verizon added 802,000 fiber subscribers in the quarter (via U-verse and FiOS), while having a net loss of 818,000 DSL subscribers.” AT&T lost 61,000 net broadband subscribers and now has about 16.453 million broadband subscribers, enough to make it the second largest broadband provider after Comcast(s cmcsa).