SBC Communications is to spend between $4bn and $6bn on a fibre optic network to offer "super-high-speed broadband" to residential and small business customers.
Bandwidth would be great enough for high definition IP-based switched TV services. The company is starting trials with Microsoft's IPTV later this year. The infrastructure would allow households to access standard or high-definition TV and video-on-demand services.
SBC believes the move to an all IP network will mean lower maintenance and upgrade costs than a traditional network.
To reduce expense and disruption SBC will put fibre to the premises (FTTP) only in neighbourhoods which are still being built. In existing neighbourhoods SBC will provide fibre to the node (FTTN). Nodes serve 300 - 500 homes. This will provide download speeds of 15 to 25 Mbps(megabits per second) and upload speeds of 1 to 3 Mbps.
SBC CTO Chris Rice said: "This strategy would be a substantial shift in the structure of the SBC network, but it is also the next step in a transformation process that we have invested in for years.
"From our backbone networks to the 'last mile' connections to homes and businesses, we have been bringing the power of fiber-optic connections closer and closer to customers to 'future-proof' our network and meet their bandwidth needs for decades to come."
SBC's DSL network Project Pronto pushed fibre to remote terminals within 12,000 feet of millions of homes and offices. With FTTN SBC will push fibre to nodes within 5,000 feet of homes and offices. SBC has four million DSL subscribers.
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