The History of AT&T U-verse

A quick AT&T U-verse recap today.

Much like the history of AT&T itself, the history of AT&T’s U-verse starts with an acquisition. It all began when SBC Communications Inc. announced it would buy AT&T in January 2005, and the acquisition was finalized in June of that year. Even though SBC was the purchaser, the company decided to brand themselves with the much more universally known AT&T.

It was a changing of the guard at AT&T, not just in personnel and corporate structure. “The New AT&T” was launched in June 2007, with CEO and chairman Randall Stephenson announcing that wireless services would be the focal point of what was in essence a re-launch. U-verse was also part of this announcement. This was attempt to update the company, rolling out more Internet-based services and going away from the traditional land-line telephone service, which began drastically declining in numbers.

AT&T U-verse is a VDSL (or very-high-vibrate digital subscriber line) service that brings telephone, Internet, and television services to its subscribers through a fiber-to-the-node communications network. AT&T has continued to improve upon U-verse, and has continued to add services – some for free to its customers – in the three years it has been in operation. Some of the improvements include:

Total Home DVR (added June 2009) – This was an upgrade to the Total Home DVR that was originally launched in 2008. Subscribers can control functions and settings from one DVR in the home, as well as record and watch recorded programs on up to eight other connected televisions in the home.

On Demand Top Picks (added June 2009) – This interactive service recommends on-demand programming based on a subscriber’s past rental history. It also allows the subscriber to view a Top 10 list of what all other subscribers are viewing on-demand. Customers can also help rank movies, making a more thorough ranking system.

Web Remote Access to the DVR (added June 2009) – This enhancement actually predates U-verse by a year in the AT&T system, but was improved in June 2009 with a new interface. Subscribers have the ability to go on to any Internet-connected computer (it doesn’t have to be a U-verse Internet computer) and manage their recordings. AT&T reports that more than 100,000 subscribers use the Web Remote Access service.

In just a year and a half after the U-verse rollout, AT&T announced that Uverse already passed the 2 million subscriber mark in 22 states, doubling its subscription over the previous year.