AT&T 2.0, IPTV and the BSkyB connection

An instructive summary of a recent presentation by one of AT&T's Group Presidents, Ralph de la Vega, covering IPTV and the broader transformation of his company here.

De la Vega's track record is near perfect. The way he re-built Cingular and merged it with the old AT&T Wireless is a text book example of how to do a mega-merger with different technologies (GSM & TDMA), especially when we have the not-so-smooth comparison of Sprint and Nextel so clear in the memory banks.

For Telco 2.0 watchers the key quote from his talk is this:

De la Vega sees the industry as focusing on three points to push the entertainment industry into the 21st century. Content needs to be accessible on all three screens, it needs to be high definition, and it needs to be high quality. "The new TV is not something we can do alone." "AT&T 2.0," as de la Vega described it to chuckles and sighs from the audience, "is looking for partners."

We wonder whether IPTV, as currently architected by Microsoft and deployed by AT&T into the home via DSL, is the answer. We are much bigger fans of either a) the evolving BSkyB solution or b) the Verizon FiOS solution (ie broadcast on a fibre wavelength) with IP-based solutions for the long tail (perhaps over a dedicated VLAN).

We await with interest AT&T's next big strategic move which we predict will be the purchase of either DirectTV or EchoStar. Note: if they buy DirectTV (a customer of NDS) watch the rollout of the BSkyB solution across the States....

More on the links between AT&T and BSkyB here, and on Sky's approach to broadband here.