AT&T's Stephenson bullish on wireline broadband, bearish on regulation

Fixed wireline erosion only relates to phone service and won't impact overall wireline business because broadband content will drive demand for services that can only be fed via wires, according to AT&T (NYSE: T) CEO Randall Stephenson in a wide-ranging Q&A with the Dallas Morning News.

"Within a couple of years your expectation will be whatever content is important to you, whether it be video or broadband content, you're going to expect it to be available to you," Stephenson said. And, while he conceded that "the number of voice telephone subscriptions over a fixed-line environment will probably go down till the day I retire," wires will always be as important as wireless spectrum. "A lot of the experiences that you require, a high-def picture on your large-screen TV, cannot be done wirelessly. So fixed-line infrastructure is critical."

The bigger broadband growth threat, he added, is regulation. Any sort of regulatory mandate about pricing, delivery or provisioning of services will cause the industry to cut back on spending for new investment. "I don't think it's combative," he said. "If you impose that kind of regulatory environment on this industry, do you think investment goes up or do you think it goes down? History will tell you it goes down."

For more:
- see this story

Related articles:
AT&T, Verizon join Google in net neutrality group
AT&T CEO: Obama should encourage telecom growth

Suggested Articles

NCTC and Imagine Communications are working together on ad tech for broadcasters, content owners, MVPDs and virtual MVPDs.

Thanks to some recent data drops from Google and Disney, the scope of the virtual MVPD market in the U.S. is coming into sharper focus.

Sinclair’s new regional sports network with exclusive TV access to the Chicago Cubs has slid into a distribution deal with Hulu + Live TV.