AT&T promises big fiber expansion -- but only if feds let it buy DirecTV

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AT&T recently named 100 municipalities in 21 metropolitan areas where it might bring its fiber-to-the-home network, without actually saying how many customers would get the GigaPower service, which offers up to 1Gbps download speeds.

AT&T said the expansion "is not expected to impact AT&T’s capital investment plans for 2014," further muddying the picture.

That fiber announcement came a few weeks before AT&T announced a deal to buy satellite provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Yet it seems the two are intertwined: AT&T told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it needs approval of the DirecTV merger in order to bring fiber to 2 million locations.

"The economics of this transaction will allow the combined company to upgrade 2 million additional locations to high speed broadband with GigaPower FTTP (fiber to the premise) and expand our high speed broadband footprint to an additional 13 million locations where AT&T will be able to offer a pay TV and high speed broadband bundle," AT&T wrote in an SEC filing.

The expansions would happen within by 2018, AT&T said, as combining the companies will let AT&T gain "cost synergies" of more than $1.6 billion a year by 2017. The savings would largely be due to lower programming costs from increasing AT&T's size and bargaining power.

AT&T promises big fiber expansion -- but only if feds let it buy DirecTV AT&T: DirecTV Deal Would Boost Fiber (Multichannel News) Tech Five: AT&T pushing for support of DirecTV deal (USAToday) AT&T Says Bulking Up With DirecTV Will Help It Squash Programming Costs (Revere Digital) AT&T to SEC: $1.6B in DirecTV Synergies By Year 3 (B&C)