Exploding Batteries Plague AT&T's U-verse - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management

Exploding Batteries Plague AT&T's U-verse

The batteries were made by Avestor, a Quebec company that filed for bankruptcy last fall.

Initially plagued by software problems, AT&T's U-verse TV service now has an exploding battery problem, making it necessary for the firm to replace 17,000 backup batteries in its nationwide network.

U-verse is AT&T's group of Internet Protocol-based products and services which includes television content delivery and super high-speed Internet access.

There have been reports in the past few weeks of a few batteries exploding and catching on fire. AT&T said the battery-related incidents caused no injuries. The firm is continuing to deploy U-verse and, for instance, introduced new interactive features for the service earlier this week in Indianapolis.

The batteries were made by Avestor, a Quebec company that filed for bankruptcy last fall. Avestor had developed a Lithium-Metal-Polymer technology for its batteries.

In a statement, AT&T said: "Normally, we would work with a vendor to diagnose problems and develop solutions. We can't do that in this case."

Situated in outdoor cabinets along roadsides usually, the batteries will be replaced as quickly as possible, AT&T said.

AT&T's rollout of U-verse was slowed initially by software problems. The company has been rolling out the service more rapidly in recent months. AT&T has said it expects to have one million customers in service by the end of 2008 "and to be installing more than 40,000 customers a week."

By comparison, Verizon Communications installed its one millionth FiOS TV customers last June. On Wednesday, Verizon Wireless, which is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group, announced that it is continuing to rollout its V CAST Mobile TV service in Metropolitan New York. The TV service is available in several regions in the service provider's network. The wireless service is powered by the FLO TV service from Qualcomm subsidiary MediaFLO USA.

AT&T's is centering its wireless video offerings on its exclusive relationship with Apple Inc. and the Apple iPhone.

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