Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Ronald Martinez)

AT&T’s legacy telephone network may have nearly 200,000 miles of lead-covered cables, according to an estimate by AT&T submitted in a court filing.

“Based on its records, AT&T estimates that lead-clad cables represent less than 10 percent of its copper footprint of roughly two million sheath miles of cable, the overwhelming majority of which remains in active service,” AT&T wrote in a court filing yesterday in US District Court for the Eastern District of California. “More than two thirds of its lead-clad cabling is either buried or in conduit, followed by aerial cable, and with a very small portion running underwater. There are varying costs of installation, maintenance, and removal by cable type (aerial, buried, buried in conduit, underwater).”

Reacting to the court filing, financial analyst firm Raymond James & Associates wrote in a research note, “AT&T is telling us that the total exposure is 200,000 route miles or less.” With about two-thirds of the lead cables either buried or installed inside conduit, “We believe the implication for AT&T’s data is that the route miles that should be addressed most immediately is about 3.3 percent (or less),” the analyst firm wrote.

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments