BellSouth Keeps Rolling Out Fiber

BellSouth Corp. is building fiber deep enough into its network that by the end of 2007, 50% of its homes would be capable of receiving 12-megabit-per-second to 24-mbps speeds for data products, chief financial officer Pat Shannon said at the Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. analysts’ conference in Palm Beach, Fla., last week.

Shannon said BellSouth is concentrating on its top 30 markets for the fiber build, where 70% of the homes in those markets will be able to receive up to 24-mbps speeds by the end of next year.

He added that the company is building to those speeds “regardless if we do video.”

“We’re encouraged with the technical IPTV trials” being conducted in 250 homes in Atlanta, he said. That trial will expand to 1,000 homes later this year. “We’re still looking for the right business model,” he added.

BellSouth added 520,000 DirecTV Inc. subscribers in 2005, tops among U.S. telcos. BellSouth also counts 40,000 fiber-to-the-premises video customers from several markets launched in the late 1990s.