The Federal Communications Commission is whistling a tune investors should like. Today the regulator of one-sixth of the American economy hailed AT&T’s decision to invest $14 billion in Long Term Evolution (LTE) and IP wired broadband networks as “proof positive that the climate for investment and innovation in the U.S. communications sector is healthy.” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski noted that today’s announcement brings the total to $200 billion invested in broadband networks since 2007.
According to a statement released earlier today by AT&T, the company expects its LTE network to cover 300 million people by the end of 2014. In addition, fiber deployment is expected to reach an additional 1 million businesses. Also, 99% of customers in wireline service areas will be able access high-speed broadband via IP wired networks or 4G LTE, according to a press release issued today by AT&T.
Of particular interest to investors is the expected mid-single digit growth in earnings per share over the next three years, with unspecified higher growth beyond that.
If the FCC is concerned by an apparent abandonment by AT&T of any plans to deploy copper in the future, the agency did not let on in its press release this afternoon.
“As our National Broadband Plan said, extending wired and wireless broadband across America is the
‘great infrastructure challenge of the 21st century’”, said Mr. Genachowski. “America’s 21st century economy and our global leadership depend on meeting this challenge. Through our groundbreaking steps to free up spectrum, our once-in-a-generation overhaul of Universal Service, our phase-down of the byzantine and outdated inter-carrier compensation system, our Broadband Acceleration Initiative and numerous other actions, we’ve taken major strides to promote private investment in broadband networks.”