AT&T could be setting up subs for online streaming service

AT&T (NYSE: T) could be looking at a way to add some form of online streaming to its U-verse IPTV service. And it wouldn't necessarily be the carrier's creation.

According to a report in Variety, the carrier sent a survey to U-verse subscribers querying whether they'd have any interest--including potentially signing up--in a "new video and Internet service" that would, among other things, remove the set-top box from the equation but offer video streams of local broadcast channels, "popular sports and entertainment" subscription channels, and a streaming service such as Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) or (Nasdaq: AMZN) to "customers' own devices." All would be offered with better picture quality and shorter streaming wait times, the story continued.

"We regularly survey U-verse customers to get their input on a variety of topics," an AT&T spokesperson told FierceIPTV.

While the service could be seen to compete with, or perhaps even cannibalize U-verse within the AT&T U-verse footprint, it would make sense outside AT&T coverage areas or even in areas where the carrier could work with "any broadband provider, not necessarily AT&T," as the survey noted.

While AT&T has repeatedly said it will jack up the U-verse broadband speeds to be more competitive with DOCSIS 3.0-based cable operators and Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) fiber-to-the-home FiOS service, the carrier is still lagging in broadband coverage and thus a bit restrained on what it can offer over its networks. A streaming competition, which, the survey suggested, would include a Wi-Fi router and 6 Mbps Internet, would allow broadband subscribers to stream content to tablets, phones, TVs and other connected devices without necessarily buying into--or having available--the entire U-verse experience.

For more:
- Variety has this story

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