With Google Fiber On The Way, AT&T Fiber Customers Receive Free Boost To Connection Only 976 Mbps Slower Than Google's Connection
from the loosening-the-artificial-cap dept
With the threat of Google’s fiber expansion making real competition a reality in some markets (rather than the perceived competition where multiple cablecos and ISPs offer middling service while offering small discounts or limited time price breaks), AT&T is now being forced to upgrade its existing service in the affected area, or at least, to pay it some lip service. Its press release following the news read more like a Bart Simpson quote: “We can’t promise to try. But we’ll try to try.”
It appears AT&T is actually doing at least a little something for its existing fiber customers in Austin. Austin members of the DSLReports boards are reporting that AT&T has removed the governor (or loosened it, anyway) on its fiber connections, bumping the speed up to nearly 2.5% of Google’s offering.
I called to cancel U-Verse because Time Warner offers Docsis 3.0 speeds for far cheaper in the Austin area. Uverse told me that select FTTH customers can now get 24/3 instead of the previous cap of 18/1.5. They just have to send a “special” technican to upgrade my equipment. I am letting them come and try because I don’t believe it.
Why aren’t these fiber customers already enjoying vastly improved speeds over other U-Verse subscribers? Why has it taken the threat of a real competitor to remove the artificial cap AT&T installed? Apparently, it’s because AT&T wants to treat all of its customers fairly and ensure they receive the same lousy connection speed.
While AT&T took the cheaper route when upgrading portions of their network to fiber to the node, the company has historically offered fiber to the home to a few locations (less than a few hundred thousand), primarily in upscale housing developments. While those lines are capable of significantly higher speeds, AT&T has traditionally capped those users at the same speed as other U-Verse users. The company told me in 2007 this was to create a “more consistent experience.”
Consistent under-performance is consistent.
That means you have users on cutting-edge fiber infrastructure, in some places seeing downstream speeds of just 6 Mbps — and upstream speeds of just 1.5 Mbps.
So, while this speed bump may be appreciated, it is long overdue. The fact is fiber customers should have surpassed 24/3 a long time ago, rather than making do with a small, tossed off bit of faux largesse from AT&T. An incremental boost like this, especially on a fiber connection, isn’t going to be enough to keep AT&T customers from lining up for Google Fiber. Even if AT&T begins making more aggressive moves, it’s highly doubtful its customers believe it will ever match Google’s connection speed. As Karl Bode says:
Given these past speed issues, this is why most AT&T customers will believe 1 Gbps only when it’s up and running.
Exactly. Time Warner Cable, facing direct competition from Google Fiber, flat out stated there was no demand for this connection speed and that it would certainly be happy to provide 1Gbps connection should anyone prove they actually needed it. Translation: probably never. AT&T’s slippery press release “nailed down” pretty much the same approximate timeframe. It’s clear competition will have some positive effect for those in the covered areas. I’m sure TWC and AT&T are both happy a nationwide Google expansion would be prohibitively expensive, allowing them to continue providing subpar connection speeds and terrible customer service.