AT&T IP service adoption continues in Southeast states, but pace has slowed

AT&T IP service adoption continues in Southeast states, but pace has slowed

AT&T (NYSE: T) said that in Carbon Hill, Ala., and West Delray Beach, Fla., the two markets where it is conducting its TDM-to-IP trials, it is seeing more customers purchase IP-based services, but at a slower pace.

Since beginning the trial last May, the service provider said in an FCC filing highlighting its progress in these two markets that it saw TDM-based service subscriptions continue to decline in its consumer and business segments.

In Carbon Hill, consumer TDM accounts declined by 22 percent, while IP accounts rose 42 percent. AT&T saw a similar trend in West Delray Beach, where consumer legacy accounts declined by 20 percent and IP accounts increased by 20 percent.

The service provider saw similar trends in the business services segment. It reported that in Carbon Hill, simple business legacy accounts, or those that have seven or less legacy TDM-based lines, dropped 22 percent but IP accounts were up by 42 percent.

A similar trend took place in West Delray Beach as simple business legacy accounts declined by 9 percent and IP accounts increased by 25 percent.

Despite the gains it has made, AT&T said that consumers’ and businesses’ migration to IP-based products and services “are continuing but at a slower pace than the last two quarters.”

Overall migrations from TDM to IP are down 31 percent since the first quarter. However, AT&T attributes the decline to “the seasonal moves in the Delray Beach wire center.”

To encourage more IP-based service adoption for business customers, AT&T said it will offer an enhanced U-verse voice service.

“In the near future, AT&T will begin to offer an enhanced U-verse service that will increase the number of addressable small business accounts in the trial wire centers that can migrate to an AT&T IP voice service,” the carrier said in an FCC filing. “The Network Performance Reports show customers using AT&T’s VoIP network, mobile network, and legacy TDM network all experienced robust performance.”

A big element of the trials has been focused on educating consumers by conducting outreach to the Carbon Hill and West Delray Beach communities by holding information sessions with homeowner associations and having a presence at various community events.

It has also been working with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and other local disability organizations in both areas to provide information about the trials and respond to questions and concerns.

“AAPD has participated in community events alongside AT&T to provide information about how the IP trials will impact people with disabilities,” said AT&T.

AT&T also hosted site visits to its central office buildings and mobile cell sites for RAND Corp. in both markets to assist the company in its role of evaluating the technology trials.

While these trials and the transition to IP-based services is encouraging, a number of competitive providers like Granite Communications, Level 3 and XO Communications have continued to voice concerns about how these transitions could impact the wholesale service sets they purchase from AT&T to deliver services to business customers.

In particular, these service providers are concerned that AT&T’s IP transition will hurt small and medium businesses if it is allowed to raise rates for Ethernet services.

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