AT&T Inc. (T) Management on Bank of America Technology, Media & Telecom Conference (Transcript) – Seeking Alpha

Written by Amanda

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) Bank of America Technology, Media & Telecom Conference Call June 23, 2022 9:50 AM ET

Company Participants

Jeff McElfresh – Chief Operating Officer

Conference Call Participants

David Barden – Bank of America


This webcast presentation is for Bank of America clients only. If you are a member or representative of the press or media, please disconnect now. At this time, it is my pleasure to turn the program over to David Barden.

David Barden

Hey, guys and welcome back to the 2022 London TMT Conference. I’m pleased to be sitting here in my office in New York. Well, I’m not quite pleased. As you know, we had to move this conference virtually this year for the third year in a row. So we’re all very good at it now and I’m glad everyone was able to join us for this. The first U.S. market keynote this morning with the Chief Operating Officer of AT&T, Jeff McElfresh. So I’d liked to just say thank you, Jeff, for being with us here today. I know you have to do a quick safe harbor. So I’ll ask the moderator to put up the slide and you can just do whatever you need to do.

Jeff McElfresh

Yes. Great, David. While the moderator is doing that, I’ll just dispense with our Safe Harbor Statement really quick. Before we begin in the discussion and the conversation, I need to call your attention to our Safe Harbor statement which says that some of our comments today may be forward-looking. And as such, they’re subject to risks and uncertainties and results may differ materially. Additional information is available on our Investor Relations website. Also, David, we’re in the middle of the quiet period for the FCC Spectrum Auction 108 which is in effect right now. So we’re not going to make any comments pertaining to that.

And with that business out of the way, David, it’s a real pleasure to join you today. I appreciate you inviting me to participate.

David Barden

No. Thank you, Jeff. This is not your first rodeo here. You’ve been actually coming for a number of years in the past and so we really appreciate you being a steady Eddy for us in this event. But it’s interesting to kind of to make that — no, because it kind of leads into my first question which is the last time you were at this conference, you had a different job.

And in April, AT&T made a few moves. You left the CEO of communication spot to become the Chief Operating Officer of AT&T. I was wondering since this might be the first time a lot of people are kind of seeing you in the new role. I would love to kind of get a sense as to kind of what you see your new role doing and how you measure success in it?

Jeff McElfresh

It’s a great question. And yes, there’s been a lot of change at AT&T. In fact, David, as we’ve had this conversation over the course of a couple of years, there’s been just a very significant amount of transformation that’s occurred within AT&T itself. You may note of our recent restructuring in April on the back of the spin of the WarnerMedia business with our partner over at Discovery. And at that point in time, indeed, my formal title changed but really, David, my role remains the same. And over the last two years, we’ve done some stuff around AT&T that I think is quite impressive. And I’m really pleased and probably most importantly really proud of the women and men of AT&T that have managed through this transition.

What am I talking about? Things that you haven’t really heard from AT&T in a long time. And as you know, David, I’ve been around this company for 27 years, things like we are finally back to growth. We are growing with momentum in our core products of 5G and fiber. So much so that we’ve led the industry in postpaid phone growth here in the U.S. marketplace for two consecutive quarters, 4Q and 1Q. And if you’re keeping score like I do, since we began this transformation a well over two years ago, in the last seven quarters, we’ve added 5.3 million postpaid phone customers to our wireless business. That’s something that AT&T hadn’t been doing very successfully prior to that. And not only are we growing our wireless business, last year, we added 1 million plus fiber subscribers to the portfolio with our renewed focus on core connectivity of fiber and 5G.

And our success, David, is coming from material transformation and our go-to-market strategies and our distribution channels, our value prop in the market and most notably our investment ability. And that’s the biggest change that I’m going to give thanks to our Board of Directors and to our shareowners as well as we have made our way through the spin at the — in April, we were able to do a few things. We were able to step up our investments in these really attractive products like 5G and fiber. And we’ve been able to secure a very attractive spectrum in the mid-band to complement our preferred low-band position for our wireless business. And as you know, we’ve been stepping up our pace and investment in fiber across this nation with a stated goal of passing 30 million locations by the end of 2025. All that made possible by the financial flexibility that we now have to make those capital investments.

In doing so, we’ve reset the dividend. And even after reset, it remains one of the most attractive yielding dividends in Fortune 500. We’re making steady progress on our deleveraging targets. We’re on pace to achieve our 2.5x net debt to adjusted EBITDA as we promised. And all in all, my job, even though my title changed, remains the same. It’s to go drive great products and services into the market to grow the business itself in 5G and fiber and to deliver operating leverage. And if you ask me how much my focus has changed, my prior role to this role, it’s around cost structure, it’s around getting more efficient, it’s around driving through operating leverage to the bottom line that we hope is visible here in the back half of ’22 and more so in ’23. And it’s probably — it couldn’t come at a better time, David. I’m sure this is not a new news for you.

One of the biggest points of concern and watchouts that I have right now is the inflationary pressures that we are all experiencing, our customers and our businesses are experiencing. And so I’m thankful that we’re well underway with this transformation to kind of forward some of these increased input costs that we’re facing and still being able to drive attractive returns for owners.

David Barden

So that’s maybe another strong point. Thank you for that answer. I think that if you look backwards, one of the big criticisms, maybe two big criticisms around AT&T were: one, it was so complicated; and number two, I don’t think people — people didn’t really understand why it had to be so complicated. And I think that the management team has made it super clear that they want to become simpler. And I think we’ll start to see that when we get to second quarter results at the back half of the year.

I think one of the big things that grab headlines, to your point about costs and leverage and inflation, was the price changes that you made in the market for some legacy plans. And I think that there’s been question marks as to, are those price movements net positive, net negative? Are they able to address the inflation pressures in the business today? And what flexibility do you think you have to address inflation pressures into the rest of the year and however that looks into 2023?

Jeff McElfresh

Yes. David, I mean, that’s the right question to ask. And I think all businesses face the same challenge. What I’m most proud of is our CEO, John, early this year in a conference back in January, I think might have been the first CEO to raise this as a concern point, that inflation — we’re expecting inflation to take a step up here in the U.S. economy coming out of the pandemic and all the stimulus. And as such, we included a healthy amount of inflation expectations in our guidance that we set at the beginning of the year. And we’ve accounted for much of that inflationary pressure with our operating plans and our transformation initiatives which I’m sure we can get to later in the webcast. However, inflation is taking a hotter toll right now. It’s slightly above what we expected and it’s one of the main reasons why we took the first steps in the industry to address some of that inflationary pressure.

And we looked at — we didn’t do a broad stroke across the entire customer base. We looked at a cohort of customers that were on the oldest rate plans that didn’t have access to 5G or some of the best features and benefits. And as we engineered our deployment plan around that, we’re in mid-flight right now. Those plans took effect here in June. And the team is doing a nice job helping our customer base make the migration paths to our best plans that include 5G and they’re having some success in doing that. It’s never pleasant raising prices. As consumers, we don’t want prices to rise. We don’t want to pay more in the gas pump. And I think it’s important to note, if we don’t put inflation into check as a country, as a point of policy, rampant inflation is just not healthy for economy or commerce. And so we’re working hand-in-hand, encouraging policymakers to address what we see as a macroeconomic headwind for just about all businesses.

Now having said all of that, what’s really important and I like about our position, David, at AT&T is we’ve got a scaled fiber and 5G business. And as history has shown us, telecommunications services are quite resilient to inflationary pressures or recession because they’re needed, they’re essential. And as we’ve been making really solid progress in stepping up our game and the offers that we make and the products that we serve, we’re finding great churn levels, highest customer satisfaction that we’ve ever experienced. Our distribution channels are becoming more and more efficient in delivering that service. And so we’re well positioned, I believe, to address as much as we can.

You asked another question about do we still have flexibility? We do. We’ve got multiple levers that the organization has on the ready standby. Those levers are not just price increases, Dave. It’s not passing on the cost to consumers writ large across the portfolio. We’ve got a transformation program and a cost takeout strategy that has been in the works for well over 1.5 years now, almost two years. And lots of those programs that we have funded and invested in are beginning to take shape in the operating units. These are not just immediate cost takeouts. These are things that help us drive operational efficiency in a way to continue to grow the business without the need to invest aggressively to attract customers or retain customers.

And I’m excited to watch this program mature here in the back half of the year and on into 2023 because I think it’s going to be a strategic advantage for us as we’re facing the inflationary pressures in the economy.

David Barden

Good. Good. So let’s kind of maybe talk a little bit about the wireless business, the main business now at AT&T.

Jeff McElfresh

Certainly, the largest.

David Barden

The largest by far. I think that one of the big conversations as you know really in the second half of last year was that the business growth in postpaid phone net adds was so good that it had to be bad, that — and to be frank, that wasn’t a totally unfounded fear when you consider some of the experience that the cable industry had with pulling forward demand during the pandemic into kind of the 2021 period. And so the big concern, I think, or one of the big debates in the industry has been from never-before-seen high, almost 9 million postpaid phone nets in 2021, were we going to see a hard landing or a soft landing in mobile in 2022? In your seat, what do you see happening? What should we expect?

Jeff McElfresh

Well, first of all, the first quarter certainly didn’t look like a hard landing. Second, not all customers are equal. And while I can’t comment on cable or our competitors, what I can comment on, David, is the following. When we look to go grow, we’re not looking to grow to hit a sub number. I mean, yes, we are a large scaled wireless business that currently finds ourselves in third place. Is there attractive growth for us to pursue? 100% there is but it does not overtake our focus on quality and driving high-value customers to AT&T or equally taking care of our very high-value existing customer base.

And I think if you back up for a minute and you look at the way the industry has played out, prepandemic, during the pandemic and today through the first quarter, there’s a couple of observations that I would make that I see. One is the most consistent operator over the past two years has been AT&T and that was never the case in the past. That consistency is an important factor. And we’ve spoken about it, I’ve spoken about it and it’s hard for an analyst to pin out what consistency is worth in a model; and I get that. But I would point to the following, we continue to operate the same go-to-market strategy we announced nearly two years ago. We have not increased our aggressiveness. We have not increased our promotional offers. We have held steadfast and, in fact, retreated a bit in our acquisition offers in the market while competitors have been dancing around trialing different and various offers. Yet the momentum of AT&T continues.

Why is that? Well, there have been years of investments that we have made in two areas: one being the network which deserved a better customer base than we had been investing in, in the prior period. And so when we set off to our best deals for every one strategy to take care of the existing customer base, we have seen immediate reaction and traction to that within our customers as well as competitor customers making a move to AT&T. We’re not juicing those deals. We’re not adding a lot of fuel to that fire. We’re just executing better down at the local level market by market. And so I look at trends like credit levels, credit class, the qual metrics for new customers moving in, we look at geographic growth where our customers joining the AT&T family at a faster pace than maybe we’ve had historically. And I can tell you what I see is consistent and even, distributed performance. It’s not in one pocket and one market. That tells me as an operator that we’re doing something right. We’re doing a better job delivering value and serving customers. Our distribution channels are performing better. Our network is performing better. And our multi-segment focus is really paying dividends.

What do I mean by that? We measure our — we report our wireless business writ large all-in, inclusive of consumer, small business, the middle market customers as well as enterprise customers. And then we report consumer wireline and business wireline. Our business wireline segment does not in the reported financials account for the strength it generates for us in our wireless business. And despite all efforts by competitors to attack certain vertical elements of our enterprise market and our mid-market or small business presence, we’re not seeing any of that have an effect. In fact, our enterprise strategy around wireless is gaining momentum, has continued to perform and gaining share in an accretive manner. I’d point to things like FirstNet as a keen example of the strategy that we are five years into the execution and it continues to get stronger as we make our way through our planning period. So there’s no one silver bullet that’s driving AT&T’s success. It’s not the industry writ large because we are in third place in terms of share. So there’s plenty of growth for us within the market.

Do I expect the outsized expansion of the postpaid business to continue? We’re not counting on that. Our guidance doesn’t expect that to happen. But when it does happen, we’re in a great position to jump and grow. And one last point. I think this helps — I’m going to give you a little double-click into what I mean by this. Three years ago, prior to the launch of our real keen focus on transformation, David, I would describe to you my wireless distribution was a bit more of a fixed cost model, less a variable cost model. We owned a higher percentage of our distribution portfolio. We’re a company in retail stores where we employ our sales professionals, our managers, we pay for the real estate and all the carrying cost associated with that. Over this transformation, we have now achieved a higher volume with our online channels, our direct fulfillment channels. And we have been transforming our distribution footprint to one that has a higher percentage of variable costs through agent partners and third parties.

Why that’s important is, if the industry does in fact tamp down a bit, no problem, AT&T is in a better position to flex down because those costs are variable. And that’s why we have confidence in our ability to continue to grow handsomely the wireless business, to drive EBITDA growth, ergo operating leverage from the largest part of our portfolio as we make our way through the back half of this year and into 2023. And we’re in a really good position to address inflationary pressures as we’ve talked about before. Hopefully, that helps give you a little bit more color why we’re really well positioned at AT&T to drive accretive growth.

David Barden

So Jeff, thank you for that. And that kind of is a great kind of exposure of how AT&T is positioned today. I just got back from a few days of marketing in Europe. Last week, I was in Boston. A lot of people are — have kind of got new jobs or new to the seat. Some people are just young. And I’m getting the question more often than I thought I would about how a recession which is kind of the opposite of inflation which we just talked about, could affect the wireless business.

And I think there’s probably an appreciation for the deep utility of the business. But the way that ARPU has been growing as we’ve been coaxing people up to higher and higher priced plans even as prices are rising. And there’s a question as to how a business like this can or will grow should we get to what it seems to be the government’s preferred end state which is some kind of recession.

Jeff McElfresh

Well, I think it’s a really important question. If you back up from the specific question just for two seconds, we do, we have a vibrant young workforce and which is beautiful to see. And many of these individuals have really never lived in or worked through high inflation or a recession. This is the truth. And in fact, with my experience operating — the majority of my career operating in high inflationary international markets, I’ve been able to see how the ebbs and flows and the flight to cash become so important.

When I look at AT&T and what we’ve been able to do so far over the last seven quarters, we have got a formula. Our revenue equation is working on service revenue growth. We see that occurring. The area that we’re focused on now is the operating leverage, driving that service revenue growth to EBITDA growth. We’re going to do that here in the back half of the year. You will see that visibly in the P&L. That’s my commitment and what my focus is. We get there two ways. We get there with continued accretive growth. Even if that growth is tempered a bit, I mentioned earlier that our variable cost model in distribution gives me a few different tool sets to help address the profit lines of the business. And that’s why we at management are confident we can drive the operating leverage and even during through a recession because wireless is still going to be in high demand.

Will we see pressures to ARPU? I’m sure there will be segments and specific cohorts of customers where you may see slight pressures in ARPU. But on the average, on the margin, we like our position right now. We are calling for ARPU growth here this year in our postpaid business. And you might actually see a little bit of sequential improvement month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter, I should say. And that’s because our scaling of our growth, we’re now in a position where we’re starting to overlap that scale. And because we’re at pace in rate with volume in the mobile business, the true year-over-year compares are going to help.

Now, I’ve got to also be mindful of there are a couple of things that we’ve already disclosed that we’re fighting against that aren’t recession related. It’s not customer volume-driven related. It’s things like a 3G shutdown which we leaned forward as the first and started to make our way through reclaiming that 3G spectrum back for use with 5G. And we’ve been working our way through that with the customer base and the network costs. That puts pressure on us here in the second quarter as we’ve already disclosed. We’ve got FirstNet and CAF II reimbursements that are no longer in our run rate here in 2022. Even with those pressures, we are still confident we’ve got a revenue equation to go drive ARPU growth in our mobility business. If we see increasing pressures from a recession out in the longer horizon, we’ll act accordingly. We know how and we know what to do and the team is well equipped with the toolkit and customer lens to address that for our owners.

David Barden

Yes. Perfect. And I think it’s also probably worth noting that you’ve got a pretty balanced portfolio of offerings depending on what those cohorts end up winding. It’s clear that people are going to need mobile connectivity. You lose your job, you’re going to need a phone to find a new one. And you’ve got the Cricket product and the prepaid products in the marketplace which are hedges potentially if that’s necessary. So again, I believe the volume growth is pretty much a given in a recession. I see less opportunities for there to be a decline for sure.

Okay. So what I wanted to do is talk next — it’s something that’s going to bridge us into the broadband business which is the piece of the business that I talked to about all your competitors that you don’t talk about which is the fixed wireless access business and it’s one of the more dynamic parts of the Verizon story, the T-Mobile story, their postpaid net add story but it’s something you guys have eschewed very purposefully. And I kind of like you to revisit the reasons why it made sense not to do fixed wireless access. And we’ll talk about fiber next but I’d rather talk about why does it makes sense not to do it?

Jeff McElfresh

Well, first of all, the investment thesis that we are pursuing at AT&T is playing the long game. And we disclosed a lot of our thinking on this at our Analyst Day. When we take a look at the data traffic that we serve over our wireless and our fiber networks, our network itself, we’re calling for a 5x increase in net traffic. And no matter what your last mile serving architecture is, that’s going to require a lot of fiber. We’ve made that point pretty clear. The reason for our lead offer approach, if you will, is that we know that the physics of fixed wireless cannot serve the demand for what a household is looking for or a business is looking for, for high-quality, premium broadband connectivity. What we mean by that, David, is just really truly is physics. It’s multi-gig, symmetrical uplink is becoming a much more important component to your broadband experience. And the only technology that offers unfettered and broad and great experience is a fiber-fed network.

Now we can serve the last-mile customer with a wireless offer or wireless solution but it’s not going to outperform one that it’s a direct fiber connection. Look, we’re not opposed to fixed wireless. It’s just not our lead offer. And why I say that, David, is twofold. One, I mean we’ve got hundreds of thousands of fixed wireless customers in the business today. We have been serving fixed wireless for quite some time in our enterprise segment as well as our consumer segment through the CAF II program. And then couple that with what we see occurring in the usage on those services and we know that wireless is going to underperform. The wireless architecture is going to underperform the expectations in time. So the question becomes a timing game. And is fixed wireless a tool to be used today in our country serving particular segments or cohorts of customers that don’t have access to fiber? We think there is. And we’re not opposed to pursuing those strategies but it’s not the majority of our growth agenda. It’s not part of our revenue equation.

Will you see us experiment a bit more with fixed wireless? You will. And the reasons we’ll experiment with fixed wireless is not just to go grow subscribers, it’s to be a catch product for our copper footprint where we’ve been disclosing and sharing like at our Analyst Day where we likely are not going to build fiber in the future. And therefore, as we transition our customers off of copper onto something different, fixed wireless solution will perform better than DSL or low speed. So we’re not disclosing today what our direct plans are on that. But David, rest assured, we’re working on various offers and some technologies that are going to help maybe answer that question a little bit more definitively for you as we make our way through the balance of this year and into next year.

David Barden

So this might be a related question but before we shift gears to the fiber broadband side but T-Mobile made a lot about them having their deep 2.5-gig spectrum position and them having had a multiyear headstart on deployment of C-band. Verizon came in guns blazing wanting to build out C-band as fast as possible and that in part is informing their fixed product access business plan. And AT&T, however, through — because they bought Spectrum in Auction 110 wanted to do this single kind of truck roll and it seemed to be prioritizing economy of deployment over speed of deployment. And is it because you made this kind of cost-first choice instead of market-first choice that you might be behind on some of these things like fixed wireless access? And if you are behind, how do you catch up?

Jeff McElfresh

Well, if you look at the return profiles of fixed wireless, revenue versus the amount of data being consumed, we didn’t purchase premium mid-band spectrum to occupy it with that kind of subscriber unit. And I’d encourage your team and the folks on the webcast just go pin that math out. David, in fact, a little side caveat, I ran a very large-scale fixed wireless network in Latin America for many years. I know where that leads and that’s a temporary stop gap at best.

Our — if all I had was a wireless network, if I did not have a scaled physical infrastructure fiber thriving and growing network, I might have no other choice than to leverage my wireless spectrum portfolio to go grow my business. But at AT&T, we’re not restricted to that. The fact that we’ve got two platforms that we can grow on gives us the ability to make smart decisions geography by geography. Once again not playing for a quarter or a year, playing the long game. And we are steadfast. If there’s any characteristic that I hope you take away from knowing me and the time that we’ve spent together in this management team, John, Pascal and the rest of the leadership organization is one thing and that’s we’re going to be consistent. Our investment thesis is on fiber. We are investing at breakneck speeds with a capital intensity at historic levels for AT&T. So wireless and 5G and fiber are expanding at a speed at which we’ve not seen in the past. And so we’re making heavy investments in the network.

How we choose to take that to market is a return-minded approach. It’s not just for sheer raw volume. And I like that discipline, David. It gives my engineers and my construction teams a consistent investment plan over multiple years. Are we going to be behind on covered POPs or spectrum depth with mid-band relative to our competitors? Yes, we are. We have been. And guess what? We’ve been winning. Why are we winning? We’re not winning because we don’t have the most spectrum deployed, I mean, we’re winning because we’re focused on serving customers. And I can’t stress that enough. It drives the decisions that we make in our rate plans, in our distribution strategy, in our service centers. And our customers are telling us, keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t be distracted. Stay focused on this. This is working. And that — honestly, what I have to do with my organization and the help of others is now demonstrate to you and the market that we can turn that growth into real operating leverage and start driving earnings, EBITDA growth and earnings growth and that’s what I’m all about.

David Barden

Okay, great. So that’s a good kind of segue into kind of talking about the next big bucket of growth at AT&T, the consumer broadband business which has kind of been growing now for the first time in a very, very long time. The game plan was to kind of take 1 million fiber passings, turn that to 3 million passings. Last year, we got about, I think, 2.5 million. So last year, we’re trying to scale that up. Can you talk about how well that deployment is scaling? I know people talk about supply chain issues but you’re the largest capital spender in the United States. I don’t think you probably have any really. But to kind of address how this is scaling now and your satisfaction level that where you’re going to start to see not just a little bit of growth but maybe some of the step-up in growth that you would expect from a tripling in the rate at which you’re passing homes in your footprint?

Jeff McElfresh

Yes. I appreciate the question, David. And if you back up and you look at where our consumer wireline business has been, it has been shrinking, shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. And a year ago, we returned to revenue growth. And the way our strategy is: first, revenue; then EBITDA; and then it’s total subscribers. That’s kind of the three-step process that we are down range, mid-flight and turning that business around. And I couldn’t be happier with the performance that we see in two dimensions: one, our ability to get the fiber deployed; and more importantly, our ability to sell it. And selling the best is not hard to do. We’re learning every day as we make our way out into the marketplace the demand for the product that we offer.

And so our scale deployment, you may have mention of last year, we were slightly under the 3 million target that we had set. We did see some supply chain constrictions. We’ve been able to work our way through that. But this is a constant daily activity. To put it into perspective, we’re on pace right now. Pascal mentioned the guidance of 3.5 million to 4 million. We’re at that pace today. Rest assured, have confidence, we are there. What does that look like? That’s about 10,000 neighborhoods across the nation that are getting engineered, permitting done, construction work, pre-work done. This is a massive infrastructure undertaking. It’s the largest that I’m aware of. And as a result of that, we’ve been very forward minded in setting up our supply chain partners and our agreements to ensure that we’ve got the supply needed to achieve our 30 million passings target.

And as I’ve set up the challenge for the team and as John has challenged me, we will continue to invest in fiber if we continue to grow, drive appropriate yields and returns. And I am really pleased with our early penetration rate performance. We had — historically, our best had been like 12% of the new footprint was penetrated within 12 months. We’re right now running double that at 24%. And it’s just a matter of wide-scale local market ground plays to continue to drive that growth. And so, we’re — if we were confident a year ago in the strategy, I am doubly confident in that strategy today. And I’m happy with the progress that the team is making. To help color it a little bit more, think about the 3.5 million to 4 million, about 90% of that footprint is overbuilt of areas where our brand is well known. It’s areas where we have lost broadband customers in the past inside of our copper footprint. And about 10% I’d call new build or greenfield.

And every day, we’re finding new opportunities to edge out in our classic, traditional operating area. And the teams are finding efficiently is to stretch the fiber routes to another neighborhood across the street. And so this is a scale game. And this thing is gaining scale and we’re going to continue to lean into it and it’s critical. That’s the only way we return our total consumer wireline business but not only revenue or EBITDA growth but also total subscriber growth and we can forward the copper broadband, slow, low-speed DSL losses.

David Barden

And just as a Bank of America tower begins the fire drill that I wasn’t — know they were going to begin at this right second. We nearly run out of time. But Jeff, could you — if scale is the name of the game in fiber, should we expect AT&T to try to do something inorganically to get there faster or is this kind of organic?

Jeff McElfresh

Well, our — what we’ve disclosed in our 30 million homes passing or our locations pass target, that’s all in-house. My team is funded. Labor is arranged. Construction, I mean, we’ve got all that. Like that’s part of our plan. If there are opportunities to go beyond that, that’s not included in our guidance, number one. Two areas to think about it are with the U.S. government offering stimulus to invest in broadband to the tune of $60 billion, I kind of like the tailwinds that might present to a scaled builder of fiber like AT&T. If those opportunities arise well outside of our footprint where my operating teams are today, we may look to do some things differently in approaching that market but none of that is in our guidance. Our guidance today is based on our current in-house build and the performance of that and I think that’s upside. And I would expect us to be very competitive and present in that kind of activity as we make our way over the course of the next several years.

You can’t overlook the subsidization that the government is trying to help catalyze more fiber infrastructure in this country. And we want to be a big partner for that. And that’s probably going to require us to bring in some help and rely on others so that we’re not taking the full risk on ourselves. And we can do that. We can do that because we’ve got a scaled business and we’re known as the leader in this space. And every quarter, we’ve proven that we are and getting stronger.

David Barden

All right. Well, Jeff, that’s a great place to leave it. Thank you so much for joining us again this year. Thank you, everybody. Enjoy the rest of the conference and look forward to seeing you in the real world very soon. Cheers.

Jeff McElfresh

See you.

Question-and-Answer Session

End of Q&A

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