AT&T to modify broadband service options - exec

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Reuters) - An AT&T Inc T.N executive said on Monday the company would modify the way it packages its broadband Internet service, offering more precise levels of service that promise minimum and maximum transmission rates.

AT&T Senior Vice President Robert Quinn told U.S. regulators the company would offer “non-overlapping tiers” of broadband service, rather than its current offerings which go “up to” varying speeds of data transmission.

“When we provide broadband services based on speed, we will do so in discrete tiers that are disclosed to our end-user customers,” Quinn said.

Quinn made the comments during a hearing held in Pittsburgh by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. He was among more than a dozen executives and experts testifying at the hearing on the future of digital media and broadband service.

Quinn said the changes were among “clarifications and improvements” AT&T plans to make to its customer disclosure policies, which the company hopes to roll out later this year.

The remarks come amid increasing competition between phone companies like AT&T and the cable industry, as both sell Internet along with voice and video services. Both sides advertise fast Internet speeds.

AT&T ended the first quarter with 14.6 million Internet users including DSL and its more advanced U-Verse service. The company is due to report second-quarter results on Wednesday.

In a prepared statement given to the FCC, Quinn warned that minimum speeds listed by the company may end up being different than the speed actually experienced by customers because they are also affected by factors outside AT&T’s network.

“If we find that we are not providing service within the ordered speed tier, AT&T will take action either to bring the customer’s service within the ordered tier or give the customer an option to move to a different tier,” Quinn said. (Editing by Braden Reddall)