AT&T to offer video on demand to DSL customers

Teams with Akimbo Systems to provide Net-based VOD service to DSL subscribers who sign up for new Homezone TV service.

AT&T said on Tuesday that it's teaming up with Akimbo Systems to provide Internet video-on-demand to customers of Homezone, its new subscription TV service for DSL users.

AT&T has been testing Homezone in several states and expects to launch the new service throughout its 13-state region later this summer.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Akimbo sells a set-top box and video-on-demand service that's similar to Apple Computer's iPod-iTunes combination. Instead of selling music, Akimbo sells video that can be downloaded from the Internet onto the set-top box.

Homezone, a cross between a satellite TV service and IPTV, offers consumers a set-top box that gets satellite TV programming from Dish Network and also connects to a DSL line to offer Internet-based services from providers like Akimbo. It will be offered to AT&T customers where AT&T's new IPTV service called U-verse is not offered. And in markets where U-verse is available, Homezone will be offered as a secondary option, a company spokesman said.

AT&T plans to offer its Homezone subscribers the Akimbo Service, which hosts more than 10,000 on-demand programs from 125 different providers, and the Akimbo Player set-top box, which stores 150 hours of video. Exact pricing hasn't been disclosed, but Akimbo sells the service for $9.99 per month, and the set-top box costs about $199.99.

Adding TV to its lineup of services is crucial for AT&T, as it competes with cable operators that have already begun offering telephone service, along with TV and high-speed broadband services. AT&T is spending billions of dollars upgrading its existing network with fiber that reaches deeper into communities to boost broadband speeds. This new network, called Project Lightspeed, will let AT&T offer consumers Internet-based TV, phone service and ultra high-speed broadband that is comparable to, or even more robust than, services from its cable rivals.

AT&T plans to have Lightspeed available to about 80 percent of its customers in the next three years. It's already testing its IPTV service in San Antonio, Texas.

Featured Video

Apple TV stretches Siri voice search in beta update

A developer preview of an Apple TV software update reveals new perks. Meanwhile, Twitter puts video ads on top of your feed and assembles a new troll-fighting task force.

by Bridget Carey