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AT & T offering Wi-Fi free to subs; adds new U-verse data tier

Wed, 01/23/2008 - 8:27am
Brian Santo

AT&T issued two unrelated announcements concerning its broadband services, the first about a new, higher-speed data tier for U-verse, and the other about extending free access to its Wi-Fi network to all of its broadband subscribers.

At the same time, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson, speaking at the Davos Conference in Switzerland, said that the company is considering ways to monitor Internet traffic to identify and block illegal sharing of copyrighted material.

AT&T plans to offer AT&T Yahoo! High-Speed Internet Max to its U-verse subscribers starting in February. The new tier will be rated at up to 10 Mbps downstream and up to 1.5 Mbps upstream, and it will cost $55 per month when bundled with U-verse TV.

The company only yesterday began offering VoIP in the U-verse bundle, introducing it as a commercially available service in Detroit (see story).

On the Wi-Fi front, AT&T said that all of its broadband subscribers will soon have free, unlimited access to its Wi-Fi network, a service for which most of its subs had been paying $60 a year.

Last year, AT&T started offering free Wi-Fi access only to customers of its 6 Mbps data tier. The company claims 10,000 U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots.

In Davos at the World Economic Forum yesterday, Stephenson said the company is continuing to consider monitoring peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks to stop the illegal sharing of copyrighted material.

"It's like being in a store and watching someone steal a DVD. Do you act?” Stephenson said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

AT&T has been talking about doing so since last summer but may be moving more cautiously after Comcast was caught managing P2P traffic, inspiring an FCC investigation.

More Broadband Direct:

• AT&T offering Wi-Fi free to subs; adds new U-verse data tier 

• Slow cell phone sales dog Motorola’s profits 

• Ciena to buy World Wide Packets 

• Cisco launches new Catalyst switches, capabilities 

• Videotron picks Concurrent’s MHBOSS for VOD upgrade 

• Motorola Foundation pledges $700,000 to cable non-profits 

• Broadband Briefs for 1/23/08 

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