US telco AT&T is planning to extend its broadband service via satellite and other wireless technologies.

Chairman/ceo Ed Whiteacre has pledged to bring high speed internet access to rural areas of the US where currently it is unavailable over phone lines.

He told the Detroit Economic Club: "It makes no sense that our country, which took the internet out of the lab and into the living room, now lags so many others."

He added: "The challenge before all of us who build networks is to ensure that everyone has access to broadband and other leading-edge technologies."

To this end the telco has inked a deal with WildBlue Communications to offer satellite broadband in rural markets.

AT&T's intentions also go some way to addressing criticism levelled at it and other telcos that their services are targeted at affluent consumers, leaving poorer homes without choices.

Whiteacre unveiled plans to equip 5.5 million low-income households with internet TV within three years via the new fiber optic network, Project Lightspeed.

AT&T is the nation's largest provider of DSL broadband, with 7.4 million DSL lines in service. The new offerings have the potential to bring broadband to as many as 11.5 million additional homes and businesses in the company's local-service territory.

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