Interview: Jeff Weber from AT&T's U-Verse

AT&T's Jeff Weber is the vice president of product and strategy and responsible for the new data and video services the carrier is rolling out, including Homezone and U-Verse. Jeff and I sat down for a quick chat in the press room yesterday to discuss Miscrosoft middleware, the need for both Homezone and U-Verse, the rumored Verizon-YouTube deal and content security. Here are a few excerpts from our chat: Microsoft Middleware FierceIPTV: So, Microsoft is not exhibiting or attending TelcoTV. Any idea why not? Weber: You know, you're the second person that told me that. I didn't know that and no, I don't know why. FierceIPTV: Some are saying they are not here because they don't want to hear anymore about their middleware delaying IPTV rollouts. Weber: Well, I don't know about that, but everything is on track. I can tell you, no one is more excited about [the ongoing AT&T U-Verse] launch then Microsoft. They are excited to prove their technology works. Homezone vs. U-Verse FierceIPTV: Why the need for a Homezone service when you have U-Verse? Weber: Great question. By the end of 2008, we will still have 50 percent of our subscribers (that's 19 million homes) left unpassed for U-Verse service, but right now we have 90 percent of our customers Homezone-ready. And Homezone offers TV from Dish, photo applications as well as music. It's going to be around for a long time. FierceIPTV: Five years? Weber: You can't see five years ahead in this business. Can you imagine answering that question five years ago. Homezone will be around for as long as the eye can see. FierceIPTV: How important is content security to AT&T? It's obviously top of mind for the content providers, but some say the big operators don't care about content security. Weber: The content guys are always focused on security, in fact, there is no discussion until you get past that. It's not our job, necessarily, fixing that position the industry is in, but others are doing it and we're benefiting by it. That said, content security is a priority of ours. The rumored Verizon-YouTube deal FierceIPTV: I've been hearing a lot about the Verizon-YouTube story in the Journal today, any thoughts on that? Weber: I haven't heard about it. But I don't know if that's quite a big deal on the TV. The Internet is a better place for content like that. The way I see it, Comcast is in [television] and Google is on the Internet, while we are in both. Will we be bringing Internet TV to our subscribers? You bet. The tone of TelcoTV FierceIPTV: Any thoughts on the show so far, any trends emerging or big stories rising to the top? Weber: I haven't had a chance to walk the show floor yet! I'm going to do that right after this meeting and I'm excited to. Maybe it's just where I'm sitting, but everything is about execution right now, we have our heads down. Also, we're seeing a lot of momentum from the smaller telcos, so [the IPTV push] is starting to head down the market.