AT&T FTTP Reach Grows

    AT&T says it may reach 14 million customers with fiber-to-the-premises (FTP) services by 2019. Doing so would beat the promise it made to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to serve 12.5 million endpoints as part of the approval of the DirecTV acquisition.

    The news was delivered during the carrier’s second quarter earnings call by Chief Financial Officer John Stephens. An example of the growth is the recent expansion into the Tulsa area.

    According to FierceTelecom, the advantages to the telco extend beyond keeping the FCC happy. FTTP is also a hit with customers. “AT&T expects the fiber footprint expansion to improve churn trends, as it will enable customers to bundle broadband with DirecTV and wireless services.”

    USB Soon to Double Speed

    The situation is confusing, but the bottom line is that USB is on the road to doubling its speed. CNET reports that USB 3.2 will offer as much as 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps), which is double the current highest speed. The catch is that the USB Implementers Forum is not quite to the point of claiming that speed capability.

    The higher speeds, whatever they tap out at, are dependent upon using new hardware. USB-C, which is the family of cables and connectors, that will hit the market in 12 to 18 months.

    Google to Help AI and Machine Learning Startups

    Google this week launched an extension to Google Developers Launchpad Studio. The new arm will help machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) startups.

    Yossi Matias, Google’s vice president of Engineering, wrote that participating companies will have access to applied AI integration toolkits, product validation support, and access to AI experts, practitioners and investors. The initiative will be headquartered in San Francisco, with plans to expand “activities and events” to Toronto, London, Bangalore and Singapore.

    Facial Recognition Rolls Out in Georgia

    Those who fear Big Brother have a lot to worry about these days. A good example is occurring in the nation of Georgia. NEC Corp. is rolling out NeoFace Watch, a facial recognition system, across capital Tbilisi and other major cities.

    This is one of those ideas that sounds great if crime is a problem and scary if used on innocent people:

    The surveillance system uses NEC’s facial recognition software for video called NeoFace Watch, which checks images captured by CCTV cameras in real-time against offender databases and “watch lists” for faster detection of “suspicious individuals”.

    Four hundred cameras have been distributed so far. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia promises “tens of thousands” more. NeoFace is also used by the South Australian government.

    Mitel to Acquire ShoreTel

    The landscape of unified communications as a service (UCaaS) vendors is getting a bit smaller as Mitel bought rival ShoreTel for $430 million.

    The combination of the two companies, if the deal closes, makes Mitel the second largest company in the sector, says TechCrunch. The combined revenue of the two companies is $263 million. Synergy Research says that the value of the market is about $4 billion. The category is expanding as unified communications transitions from premise-based equipment to cloud-provisioned services.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.
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