AUGUST 1, 2007 -- AT&T Inc. (search for AT&T) has announced plans to invest approximately $350 million and $250 million over the next several years to upgrade its fiber network, further broadband deployment, and deliver Internet-based technologies to customers in North Carolina and South Carolina respectively.
AT&T says the North Carolina announcement is a direct result of the forward-looking approach to the communications and entertainment industry adopted by the General Assembly last year in passing House Bill 2047, the Video Service Competition Act. HB 2047 streamlined the process by which companies could enter the competitive video-services market. Companies now must obtain a state-issued franchise rather than negotiate with individual municipalities, a process that before could take years to complete.
"North Carolina has long been a state whose leaders have understood the wisdom of embracing advances in technology," contends Cynthia Marshall, president, AT&T North Carolina. "Today, North Carolinians are reaping some of the rewards of that foresight. We commend the General Assembly and Governor Mike Easley for their commitment to ensuring that North Carolina consumers would be among the first in the Southeast to enjoy the benefits of cutting-edge competitive video services."
AT&T says it also will boost its network in South Carolina as a result of the Competitive Cable Services Act, which was recently passed by the South Carolina General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Mark Sanford.
"We thank the General Assembly and [South Carolina] Governor [Mark] Sanford for bringing real video competition and choice to consumers," says Gregg Morton, president, AT&T South Carolina. "We look forward to delivering the most advanced technology available in television, voice and Internet services to South Carolina. Consumers will see a new world of communications and entertainment."
According to the Internet Innovation Alliance, increased competition in the video market will result in increased investment across the industry. Competition could also spur new entrants, contractors, equipment-makers, manufacturers, and service providers to create nearly 3,000 jobs in North Carolina and more than 1,400 jobs in South Carolina.
AT&T's infrastructure and investment will include what the carrier claims is a new world of communications and entertainment through its AT&T U-verse (search for U-verse) service. AT&T says it is the only national provider to offer a 100% IP-based television service, and that makes AT&TI U-verse TV one of the most robust and feature-rich services available today, say company representatives.
The planned network investment by AT&T companies in North Carolina and South Carolina does not change AT&T's capital expenditure guidance for 2007 and 2008. AT&T is in the process of implementing the AT&T U-verse network in the Southeast region and plans to provide a comprehensive update later this year.
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