AT&T to Launch Internet TV

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:36 pm

As AT&T Inc. continues to grow as the largest telecommunications company in the world, it will be able to bring international capabilities and the most sophisticated technology to Wisconsin, according executives at AT&T Wisconsin.

SBC Communications Inc. of San Antonio, Texas acquired AT&T last year and assumed its name. The merged company then announced earlier this month it intends to acquire Atlanta, Ga.-based BellSouth Inc., essentially reuniting the old "Ma Bell" company with two "Baby Bells."

"It is an exciting time for our customers in Wisconsin and an exciting time for Wisconsin in general," said Paul La Schiazza, president of AT&T Wisconsin. "The recent mergers and the new AT&T really are able to bring to our local market an unsurpassed portfolio of Internet protocol (IP)-based voice, broadband, data, wireless and video services."

The newest technologies that AT&T will launch in the Wisconsin market later this year are the AT&T Homezone and the AT&T U-verse, said John Duvall, vice president and general manager for AT&T Wisconsin.

The Homezone integrates the Dish Network with a high-speed Internet connection so that customers can seamlessly share music, pictures and video that is stored on their personal computer through their television, Duvall said.

The U-verse product is also created on the backbone of a high-speed Internet connection and is an Internet protocol television (IP TV) service, Duvall said. AT&T is still in negotiation with television networks to create packages for customers, and U-verse is currently finishing a trial stage in Texas, Duvall said.

When launched in Wisconsin later this year, video customers of AT&T where the company has laid fiber will be able to have the capabilities of digital cable and satellite television through the Internet and their home computer, Duvall said.

"One of the key benefits that differentiates IP TV from cable is the DVR technology or TiVo," Duvall said. "Cable has the customer tied to the box, so if an individual wants to record a program, the program is only recording to the box sitting on top of the television. With IP TV, the technology is Internet-based, so the customer has a whole-house DVR. If customers want to record the program upstairs and watch it downstairs they can."

Customers with IP TV will have the capability to watch sporting events on television and choose which camera angle to watch from or to have their Fantasy Football statistics scroll across the bottom of the screen, Duvall said.

"We want to create a unique individualized customer experience every time we interact with our customers," La Schiazza said.

AT&T continues to keep itself competitive by recognizing the different needs between its business customers and its residential customers, La Schiazza said. The business customers want a reliable and robust broadband and voice network, while residents and smaller businesses are looking for cost savings through a bundling of services, La Schiazza said.

AT&T also leverages its technology on the wireless side with Cingular, its wireless component. In the near future, customers will be able to have a seamless integrated component of communication, La Schiazza said. For example, customers could be connected to the Internet via a personal laptop computer at home, at work and in a local park without having to push a button, enter credit card information or even think about what network they are on, he said.

"At the end of the day, we would like to be the only communications and entertainment company that our customers would want and need," La Schiazza said. "That is our ultimate goal and it drives our investment and how we go to market. We welcome competition and think it just makes us better."

Time Warner Telecom is ‘The Alternative’

The Brookfield office of Littleton, Colo.-based Time Warner Telecom Inc. is in a head-to-head competition with other telecommunications companies, cable companies and Internet service providers in Wisconsin almost as much as TDS Metrocom and AT&T Inc. are.

However, Time Warner Telecom has not tried to be all things to all people, said Jeff Lowney, vice president and general manager of Time Warner Telecom for the Milwaukee and Chicago region. The company has created a niche for itself by focusing on large and enterprise clients, he said.

The telecommunications company created a competitive edge by advertising as a complete alternative to the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC), Lowney said. Time Warner Telecom does not lease the last mile of connectivity from ILECs, which in the Milwaukee area is AT&T, like many other competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) have to do.

Time Warner Telecom brings its network to its customers’ doorsteps, and because the company deals with large and enterprise size clients, its network is expansive and high in quality and reliability, Lowney said.

"Time Warner Telecom is the next-largest facilities-based company in the U.S. after Verizon, Quest and AT&T," Lowney said. "We have 6,000 buildings on our network in 44 markets today. We have a significant footprint in southeastern Wisconsin as well. We are the next-largest player next to AT&T."

Time Warner Telecom is independent of Stamford, Conn.-based Time Warner Cable Inc., although they were one in the same corporate umbrella until 1997, Lowney said. New York-based Time Warner Inc. does hold minority ownership in Time Warner Telecom, Lowney said.

Time Warner Telecom offers business class service for managed voice and data networking.

"What is unique about Time Warner Telecom is that we truly are the only alternative other than the ILEC that will bring fiber to your building and take a separate path," Lowney said. "We can do single or dual entry into a building. Nine out of 10 outages backhoe into the last mile of connectivity. We can offer redundancy and disaster recovery to an enterprise customer."

In Time Warner Telecom’s case, the evolution of its broadband technology has been in step with the specific needs of larger companies, Lowney said. Because Time Warner Telecom exclusively works with large business-to-business accounts, the company has focused on disaster recovery, Internet redundancy and growing its network instead of considering bundling voice, data and video as other telecommunications companies have done for their residential and small-business customers, Lowney said.

"The customer is looking for a partner that provides a network that is scalable, reliable and that they trust with very sensitive applications," Lowney said. "New applications are driving the demand for more bandwidth while customers are asking their IT organizations to keep the costs flat. We look to enhance our network connectivity. Not increase cost."

A relatively new product that Time Warner Telecom adopted is multi protocol data switching (MPLS), which allows a higher speed and better quality network, Lowney said.

The MPLS, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), Ethernet services and traditional telephone networking services are Time Warner Telecom’s platform of specialties, Lowney said.

Although Time Warner Telecom is conservative when it rolls out new technology, the company is progressive in research and development, Lowney said. Time Warner Telecom has ideas in its labs that would produce different ways to connect large enterprise space, Lowney said.

"We have survived because there is a justification behind everything we do," Lowney said. "We have focused on controlled growth. We have never wavered from who we are and we continue to focus and drive home that strategy."

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