SAN ANTONIO, Texas: America's biggest telco AT&T is finally expanding its U-verse video and highspeed internet service, unveiled in its home town earlier this year.

Twenty-seven high-definition channels have been added to the service, which is now available in Houston and about to launch in selected towns and cities on the east and west coasts.

When AT&T announced its $4.6 billion (€3.65bn; £2.52bn) investment in U-verse [WARC News: 28-Jun-06] it had hoped to introduce the service into 15-20 new markets by the year end.

Despite delays, the company still expects to make the service available to 19 million homes by the end of 2008, using web technology to deliver TV signals. The internet allows for an unlimited number of channels to be streamed.

AT&T executives say their decision to begin adding new markets reflects their confidence in the technology. Comments evp for network planning Chris Rice: "You go to market with a bad product and then your reputation is soiled."

In addition, the telco has added features not offered by competitors. Subscribers who also take AT&T broadband can program DVRs from their accounts, allowing them, for example, to tape shows from any web connection.

Other telcos, however, also aboard the TV bandwagon, have started to offer services using standard cable technology.

For their part, cable providers, muscling-in on telecoms territory, are ahead in the race to tempt households with bundled services. They now provide phone services to around eight million subscribers, using the same internet technology AT&T deploys for U-verse.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff