AT&T Makes a Deal for DSL Video Content

As fiber-based carrier networks for voice, data and video in the U.S. creep forward, AT&T announced this week it has made a deal with Akimbo Systems to provide video on demand through a combined DSL and satellite TV service.

The national wireline carrier is already planning a "fiber-to-the-node" service that would compete with rival Verizon Communications' Fios TV "fiber-to-the-home" network. But as an early "triple play" offering of voice, video, and data, it is now in trials with Homezone, a TV service that combines AT&T Yahoo High Speed Internet and AT&T Dish Network TV programming.

Homezone includes video on demand, digital video recording and digital photos and music via a special set-top box. Live TV programming will come over Dish Network's satellite service while video on demand will be delivered via DSL.

The deal with Akimbo will let AT&T offer the San Mateo, California, company's video content, which will be offered as part of the Homezone service.

Akimbo has more than 10,000 movies and TV shows from more than 165 content partners worldwide, according to an AT&T statement. Homezone subscribers will have access to an online guide with a video search function and will be able to use it remotely from any Internet-connected computer. From the remote computer, they'll be able to browse and download programs so they're available at home for viewing later.

Coming Soon?

AT&T has said Homezone is scheduled for launch this summer, meaning that it will probably arrive sometime between June and August. The Akimbo video on demand will be available shortly after that launch, according to AT&T spokesman Wes Warnock. Movielink will also be a source of video on demand on Homezone, he said.

The carrier is building a high-speed network called Project Lightspeed that brings fiber to nodes within neighborhoods. Its U-verse service, which will offer services including IPTV over that infrastructure, is currently in a controlled market entry in AT&T's home city of San Antonio, Texas, he said.

Also on Tuesday, Verizon said its Fios TV service is available immediately in parts of Plano, Texas. About one-third of the 65,000 Plano households served by Verizon can sign up for the service now, the company said in a statement. Fios TV is now available in 17 suburbs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and by the end of the year it will be offered to about one-third of Verizon's Texas customers, the company said.

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