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Malcolm Turnbull fires back over claims AT&T is abandoning fibre-to-the-node

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hit out at people claiming US telecommunications giant AT&T has abandoned fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology in its latest broadband announcement.


Yesterday, AT&T announced it was rolling out fibre optic cables to 21 major metropolitan areas as part of its U-verse network, with the carrier promising speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.


The metropolitan areas include Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose.


The announcement was highlighted by Turnbull’s critics, who pointed out the communications minister had explicitly cited AT&T as an example of a carrier currently rolling out FTTN technology.


“Fibre to the Node, that is what AT&T have done. That is what British Telecom has done. That is Deutsche Telekom is doing. That is what Swisscom is doing. That is what Belgiacom is doing. Everyone is using a mix of technologies,” Turnbull said during a Triple J interview recorded last year.


In a blog post, Turnbull says AT&T’s latest announcement does not represent an abandonment of FTTN technology.


“The majority of AT&T's planned FTTP build is to areas that do not have AT&T's FTTN service U-verse,” Turnbull says.


“AT&T's focus is  expanding its FTTP footprint in carefully selected areas where, for the most part, they have not yet deployed FTTN and where the economics are favourable both from a customer demand (revenue) point of view and, most importantly, from a cost point of view.”


This article first appeared on SmartCompany.