AT&T U-verse to compete in Hattiesburg, Miss., with Comcast

AT&T (NYSE: T) has been cleared to begin installing fiber optic cables and the necessary equipment needed to deliver U-verse and compete with incumbent cable operator Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) in Hattiesburg, Miss. The IPTV service was given the go-ahead when city council approved a five-year agreement with AT&T Mississippi to add Hattiesburg to a list of about 60 cities in the state where the service is available.

Of course, AT&T was predictably cautious when saying how long it would take to bring the service to bear on Comcast.

"It's very difficult to predict a time frame," C.D. Smith, AT&T regional director said in a story in the Hattiesburg American. "We don't want to make a commitment we can't live up to. Obviously, we want to get it online quickly so we can generate revenue."

U-verse is being welcomed to the Mississippi city in much the same way it and its telco TV brethren Verizon FiOS (NYSE: VZ) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) Prism TV are welcome wherever they go.

"It's great to have a little competition," Corley Thaxton, a technician at a local computer repair business, told the newspaper.

The agreement did not come without some friction among city officials. Hattiesburg is in the midst of a five-year cable franchise contract with Comcast that was approved in November 2011. When the AT&T agreement was announced, the five-member Cable Advisory Board unanimously resigned.

For more:
- The Hattiesburg American has this story

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