AT&T Has Fooled The Press And Public Into Believing It's Building A Massive Fiber Network That Barely Exists

from the fiber-to-the-press-release dept

A few years ago, AT&T realized something amazing: you don’t have to build a cutting edge, fiber to the home broadband network, when it’s relatively easy to fool the press and public into believing you’re building a cutting edge, fiber to the home network. So as AT&T was actually busy reducing its fixed-line broadband spending and quietly walking away from DSL users it didn’t want to upgrade, it launched a service it calls “U-Verse with Gigapower.” Basically, AT&T’s delivering gigabit speeds to high-end housing developments, then pretending the upgrades are much, much larger than they actually are.

Case in point: AT&T this week breathlessly announced that the company was deploying gigabit fiber to 38 more markets, bringing the grand total of its gigabit fiber deployment to an amazing 56 total metro markets:

“AT&T announced today it is planning to expand the availability of ultra-fast speeds through AT&T GigaPower to homes, apartments and small businesses in parts of 38 additional metros across the United States ? which will total at least 56 metros served. With the launch of our ultra-fast Internet service in parts of 2 of these metros today ? Los Angeles and West Palm Beach ? AT&T GigaPower is now available in 20 of the nation?s largest metros.

Note a few things about the announcement, however. Nowhere does the company state when these connections will be delivered. Similarly nowhere does the company make clear that it’s targeting mostly high-end housing developments where fiber is already in the ground, making costs negligible (the only way you could technically accomplish a deployment of this kind and magically have your CAPEX consistently drop). And while AT&T claims these improvements will reach 14 million residential and commercial locations, AT&T gives no timeline for this accomplishment. That means it could cherry pick a few hundred thousand University condos and housing developments per year and be wrapping up this not-so-epic fiber deployment by 2040 or so.

Nowhere — now or ever — will you see AT&T specify precisely how many users have, or will be able to get gigabit speeds from AT&T. That’s because, in reality, users in these “launched” markets will almost always find it difficult if not impossible to sign up for this gigabit service. And, in some cases, by a “launched” market AT&T actually means a few dozen homes sitting on a hill in a single housing development.

Now take a minute and look at the press coverage of AT&T’s announcement, and try to find one news outlet that could be bothered to note the limited nature of these launches. Whether it’s the Shreveport Times or the pages of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, AT&T’s convinced the entire country that it’s on the cusp of getting gigabit fiber that — for the vast majority of them — is never going to actually arrive. Even technology news outlets that should know better (if they’d spent five minutes studying AT&T’s history on this front) are busy bandying about quotes how AT&T is “outpacing every other competitor.”

To be clear, some AT&T customers will certainly get fiber. If you live in one of the few areas where AT&T has to actually compete thanks to Google Fiber, or in locations where it’s possible to upgrade to fiber with the least amount of effort and cost possible, you may be upgraded — eventually. Granted it won’t be cheap, and you’ll have to pay a steep premium if you don’t want AT&T to spy on you, but you’ll get fiber. More likely than not, however, you live in a DSL or U-Verse (FTTN) market that AT&T not only won’t upgrade, but may be walking completely away from in order to focus on more profitable (read: usage capped) wireless.

The press and public aren’t the only ones being conned. AT&T has consistently used its phantom fiber deployment as a carrot on a stick with regulators, at one point threatening to stop making these barely-there investments unless regulators walked back net neutrality. AT&T backed off the claim when the FCC asked for hard data, but this kind of telecom theater works exceptionally well in state legislatures. Last week AT&T claimed net neutrality prevented them from innovating, and this week they’re portraying themselves as the innovator of the century (even though the only actual innovation here is in misleading PR).

And AT&T’s not alone when it comes to bogus gigabit bravado. Most of the major phone and cable companies have similarly responded to Google Fiber by cherry picking the nation’s most affluent housing developments for gigabit deployment, then pretending they’re keeping pace with the nation’s broadband needs. Even Google Fiber has made a habit lately of getting oodles of press attention for fiber deployments that may or may not actually happen. In reality however, two thirds of homes lack the choice of more than one ISP at speeds of 25 Mbps or greater. And as AT&T and Verizon walk away from unwanted DSL markets, cable’s monopoly power is going to grow, making broadband less competitive than ever in many markets.

None of this is to pooh pooh the actual gigabit fiber deployments that are occurring. While it only has an estimated 100,000 subscribers now, there’s every indication Google Fiber’s going to eventually have a major disruptive impact. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on at the grass roots level, whether it’s municipal broadband, or companies like Tucows taking the reins and upgrading small towns, one at a time. But on the meta scale, an uncritical press is contributing to an epic case of delusion when it comes to the pace of broadband progress.

That’s why we’re not living in the age of fiber to the home — so much as we’re living in the age of fiber to the press release.

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Companies: at&t

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Comments on “AT&T Has Fooled The Press And Public Into Believing It's Building A Massive Fiber Network That Barely Exists”

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Headless Horseman says:

Spell Check Is Your Friend

hold royal office; rule as king or queen.
“Queen Elizabeth reigns over the UK”
synonyms: be king/queen, be monarch, be sovereign, sit on the throne, wear the crown, rule More
be the best or most important in a particular area or domain.
“in America, baseball reigns supreme”
(of a quality or condition) prevail; predominate.
“confusion reigned”
synonyms: prevail, exist, be present, be the case, occur, be prevalent, be current, be rife, be rampant, be the order of the day, be in force, be in effect; More
(of a sports player or team) currently hold a particular title.
synonyms: incumbent, current
“the reigning world champion”
noun: reign; plural noun: reigns
1. the period during which a sovereign rules.
“the original chapel was built in the reign of Charles I”
synonyms: rule, sovereignty, monarchy
“during Henry’s reign”

plural noun: reins
1. a long, narrow strap attached at one end to a horse’s bit, typically used in pairs to guide or check a horse while riding or driving.
3rd person present: reins
1. check or guide (a horse) by pulling on its reins.
“he reined in his horse and waited for her”

grammar not spell check says:

Re: Re: Spell Check Is Your Friend

If both words are spelled correctly, then it isn’t spell check you want. It is a readability check. A proof reading. Spell check won’t tell you the wrong word has been used if it is spelled correctly.

This sentence sense makes words because spelled correctly see you know I mean what.

Got it? Good.

That One Guy (profile) says:

"Investigative reporting, what's that? That sounds a lot harder than just printing the press releases companies hand us."

Must be nice being AT&T or any of the other cable companies. They can claim anything they want, no matter how ridiculous, and they know that the vast majority of the press will just repeat it word for word, without the slightest bit of investigation into the claims.

Most companies have to pay for advertising, the cable companies just lie to the news agencies and let them handle it from there.

Winston says:

Verizon was actively advertising Mt. Sinai, NY as one of the first place on Long Island to have fiber back in 1998. I think they put it into one block and maybe just one house near their exchange but still kept advertising Mt. Sinai for a number of years. Its 2015 now and Fiber is still nowhere in sight (to be fair that’s probably got a lot to do with the Cablevision monopoly and well funded Brookhaven politicians but that’s another story).

LAquaker (profile) says:

Re: Re:

PacBell (AT&T) pulled their in-place fiber OUT of the street in front of the meetinghouse here on Normandie(SIC) in Southcentral(SIC) in 1998, damn if they were going to share the last mile because of ‘deregulation’ changes of the 1934 Communications Act.

In May 2000 I sent a $200 cashiers check to a 3ed tier provider, five different techs dropped the load resisters off the PacBell POT’s line to the CO, but after 6 weeks the check was mailed back, no can do.

Then, when i(SIC) bought from GTE, in 2001 they pulled out of Southcentral(SIC). I called a CPUC commissioner the day after Christmas and he answered his own telephone, giving me the chance to force a Public Hearing.
GTE told 50 customer-victims ‘thank-you-for-sharing’ and left.
I than bought 5 phone lines from Alliance (now XO), their minimum at the time.

Aliance was still billing me for the 21 POT’s, a T1 and two ISDN pairs we had used for FIVE DAYS (i had removed their cable from the stairwell by that Sunday) near the Democratic Convention. 13 months ($17,000) after, their bill went to $0. I guess phantom receivables helped on Wallstreet(SIC).

Anonymous Coward says:

Its True

Its true, they are building a fiber network.

Few years ago I got tw telecom (not to be confused with TW Cable) to run fiber into our building. Since then level3 has purchased tw telecom.

Shortly afer tw telecom brings in fiber, AT&T and TW Cable business class decide to also bring in fiber since they started loosing customers to tw telecom.

So yes its true that are building a fiber network but its only avaliable where they have been forced to compete.

Now I have the luxury of AT&T sales drones stopping by wanting to sell me their fiber every few months but I am quite happy with level3 and AT&T is no cheaper anyway.

David (profile) says:

Re: Its True

Having fiber doesn’t mean you get reasonable speed. I had fiber (IFITL) from AT&T for about 10 years before I switched to cable. AT&T limited the speed to 3 mb. This story made me curious so I checked what speed I can get from AT&T now. According to the web site, I can’t get wired internet service. I have to use a wireless device. That is a joke. I have to use a micro cell in order to get AT&T cell service at my home. Even though their home services are garbage, their cell service is the best in Atlanta.

mickmel (profile) says:

Fiber randomly came to our neighborhood

AT&T laid fiber in our neighborhood this summer (Marietta, GA, suburb of Atlanta), and I got it hooked up last month. It’s certainly fast. Some random thoughts:

1 — We’re a 30-year-old neighborhood of ~150 single family homes, mostly full of old people. Odd choice for fiber.
2 — Google and Comcast are both expanding fiber in Atlanta, so perhaps it was a land rush?
3 — $0 installation fee.
4 — With the max of everything (fiber, five TVs with every channel, plus home phone) it is about half the cost of Comcast.

I now have 10x the speed and many more TV channels for 50% of the cost. No idea what they’re doing nationwide, but it’s pretty sweet here.

Darrin Evans (profile) says:

Re: Fiber randomly came to our neighborhood

They certainly are laying a ton of fiber in the Raleigh-Durham area of NC. I’ve had a brand new shiny fiber pedestal for 7 months with no service date in sight. I live one mile from the CO, so I know it’s coming and it’s much cheaper than time warner for much better service. I’m just hoping they light us up by January.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wonder if ATT did the same as my area?

In my area both the telco and cableco has installed lots of fiber…in the streets. Connections from the street to the house/business is still copper coaxial cable! So if that’s what ATT has done they can claim to have a sizable fiber network and say nothing about ‘last mile’ connections.

mickmel (profile) says:

Re: Wonder if ATT did the same as my area?

In our case, they laid it in the streets, then the installer ran/buried it to the house. It was quite a lot of work to hook it up (two guys one day to run it, a different guy the next day to connect it to the house, then two more guys the next day to wire inside… and they still need to send a crew to bury it).

I was surprised and pleased to not be charged an installation fee.

kris says:

Former ATT employee

TL;DR It requires a lot of work to upgrade, it is unfortunately not as simple as just replacing the cable to your house, give them time, they are working on it.

As a Former support staff for AT&T’s Gigabit and Fiber program, I can tell you that while it may not seem like they are putting fiber into your door, they still have hundreds of Technicians and Workers, laying fiber infrastructure. The issue with Broadband Internet, New VOIP, and Digital TV transmission is that the speeds and quality are determined by the back end systems (satellite networks, broadcast and relay stations). These systems for the longest time had older transport systems and cabling. Once all of the background systems are upgraded and done, and that means from every relay and receiving stations (think of that little R2D2 looking box on your street corner, and the lines on the telephone poles) they have the ability to push higher speeds. And in affected areas you may see that you used to have a max of 3 mbps, you now have the ability to go to 12-16 mbps (which is around the maximum that the copper can sustain in a single strand), and once fiber is in place the speeds will upgrade exponentially. The switch from copper to fiber is not as simple as replacing the cable, it is a complete new form of transmission type, down to the individual bits themselves. Once all of the background infrastructure is completed, then they, can, will, and have begun to put fiber to each house. While it may seem like the more “affluent neighborhoods” as you put it, are getting this service, it has to do more with new construction, it is far easier to put in the Right cabling and equipment in place than it is to replace it. It will take time and lots of money, but the process is underway, and will be fully operational in chunks as they get upgraded, or entirely new infrastructure laid in. Even when they do get fiber to your area, it requires a complete overhaul of your residential equipment on the outside of the house, and in some cases a majority of the inside wiring as well. And as a former technician I can tell you that ~75% of the service areas for AT&T have a fiber background, it is waiting for the “last mile” to get upgraded, which is a lot more cabling, time, effort and money.

Kyle says:

Re: Former ATT employee

Once all of the background systems are upgraded and done, and once fiber is in place the speeds will upgrade exponentially.

> And as a former technician I can tell you that ~75% of the service areas for AT&T have a fiber background, it is waiting for the “last mile” to get upgraded, which is a lot more cabling, time, effort and money.

I really don’t think you know what you are talking about. High speed internet doesn’t rely on satellite networks or broadcast / relay stations. TV does, sure, but AT&T is pitching this as Gigabit internet, not even more channels. If AT&T really wanted to do this, they would actually spend money doing it, not decreasing their capital investments. You can lie to the public, but you can’t lie to wall street. The reason Google is not deploying fiber faster is actually because it is really hard to find qualified people to do the install properly. And i’m not surprised, I have seen the quality of work existing telcos/cable provider installers do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Former ATT employee

I really don’t think you know what you are talking about. High speed internet doesn’t rely on satellite networks or broadcast / relay stations. TV does, sure, but AT&T is pitching this as Gigabit internet, not even more channels

AT&T U-Verse is used for both internet and video. And yes, believe it our not, many video sources really do depend on various satellites and relay stations. Amazing, isn’t it?

Mike Higdon (user link) says:

We did write about it critically

At the Reno Gazette-Journal, I wrote about AT&T Gigapower coming to Reno, Nev. with a slightly more critical look. I noticed the similar lack of specific information in the press releases that you noticed and currently have a call into AT&T requesting more specific information for our area. Like Kris said above, it’s a lot of infrastructure build outs and the city is kind of a mess of new and old. Copper can handle faster speeds if it’s high quality but in a lot of cities and neighborhoods it’s not. Reno has fiber in newer neighborhoods and new developments already so those areas will probably get it first.

In my story I provided more context for other companies doing fiber but still haven’t been able to answer those specific questions. You can check out the story here:

And I’ll let you know if I get an update.

LAquaker (profile) says:

Re: We did write about it critically

My brother’s house in the mountains has a donkey-dick cable running up the driveway to the microwave relays up the road, but when the telephone failed for the 20th time, AT&T couldn’t find his house 60 feet away.
AT&T pulled 10 low-oxygen copper coax lines out of the ground that run his side of his mailbox in 2003 and put 50 fibers in the ground, but he’s only allowed dial-up today.
AT&T offered our local radio station 30 telephone lines on a T-1 (“now just 1 telephone bill!”) and stole 25 twisted pairs from us to resell to the neighborhood. For ten years, more than a few simultaneous incoming calls are all almost unintelligible!
Dozens of startups built out every right-of-way in America, pipe lines, rail lines, high-voltage power easements, old DOD cold-war umbilical, every downtown street for new fiber in the late 1990’s, went bust and AT&T bought it all for $.01 on the dollar.
I have a bunch of failed glass sticks that would have made a kilometer of variable refractive index. We are swimming in fiber in America.
Ever play Monopoly©? Three people starve and have no place to live.

Whatever (profile) says:


This is a case of a potentially interesting article killed by snark. Karl, I think you really need to just turn it down a notch, your posts read like you are trying way to hard to be “angry tech blogger”. Too much distraction and too much attitude takes away from your message.

As for the rest, well… I think there are a lot of different issues at hand. Cost per house passed plus cost per house installed means that they are spending in the thousands per customer to obtain them. I doubt any company (except for cash rich Google, who’s fiber business doesn’t have to respect the bottom line it seems) is willing to shell out that type of money over a short period of time. It will take years, it not a decades, before everyone has a fiber into their home.

Don’t forget the legal issues of needing landlord permission to install on site. It’s often not as simple as pulling out copper and throwing in fiber, especially if the cables have to be buried under ground. Forget dollar cost, just consider the time and manpower required to wire up a single neighborhood with say a couple of hundred houses each with an in the ground installation requirement. Many cooper phone wires are literally just run in the ground, not easy to dig up and replace.

What you are way more likely to see in the short to medium term is more of the FTTN type situations, where fiber is run to the local node and then copper takes over. It’s not really a huge issue considering over the short to medium distance, it’s not that hard to get copper to move 50 meg a second or more.

I know you like to razz AT&T and other companies. But perhaps you might want to consider just how big of a job it is. After all companies like Google are cherry picking installation points, and you don’t razz them much.

LAquaker says:

Re: Snark

Who be the ‘Snark’?
When five telephone lines had 3 demarcation points on this house and 3 divergent drops (across the sky!) from the power pole (and one jack was run outside, unattached below the ivy when PacBell (AT&T) still ‘owned’ every wire) i changed the demarcation points to the back garage with a new ground rod, bonded everything together during the move over, and rewired 12 jacks with modern wire and my own punch blocks Downstream of their 3 Telco boxs… & PacBell fined me $170 for touching their stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Snark

This is a case of a potentially interesting article killed by snark. Karl, I think you really need to just turn it down a notch, your posts read like you are trying way to hard to be “angry tech blogger”.

I’m starting to suspect that Karl may not be a “team player”. Maybe he needs to be put on the no-fly list for a while, eh?


Joe V says:

AT&T is full of shit

here’s a thought…

two weeks ago a crew of AT&T workers were at a DSLAM down the street from my home replacing equipment or doing maintenance. They were at the site for several hours. Despite that, I don’t believe AT&T is bringing all fiber to the neighborhoods they have announced. It’s all “fiber to the press”.
As a CWA employee told me a few months ago, “they do not want to deal with last mile wireline anymore”.

As soon as the opportunity is right, AT&T (just like Verizon) is going to sell off their wireline operations to either Frontier or CenturyLink. These fiber buildouts are to be connected to their wireless towers as the backbone.

Those of you that are buying AT&T’s announcements are kidding yourselves. You will never see fiber in your areas.

Wickedsmack (profile) says:

This is some evil genius

So, let me get this straight, I live in a market that is getting the vaunted glory that is GIGA FIBER!!! RAWR….however I also live a market that has an ATT internet cap. Perhaps I am making a something out of nothing, but doesn’t it seem like you could potentially hit your cap super fast if one was to..oh I don’t know, sign up for giga fiber with giga speeds? I don’t know maybe I am just tired of reading story after story of how the money I earn to get things I want has less and less buying power because every little detail of every little thing has a price…that is calculated to maximize profit and things like service reliablity and customer support go out the window.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: This is some evil genius

Perhaps I am making a something out of nothing, but doesn’t it seem like you could potentially hit your cap super fast if one was to..oh I don’t know, sign up for giga fiber with giga speeds?

Nope, you caught on to the little trick of theirs. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how fast the connection is if you get penalized, hard, for actually using it.

‘Sure, sign up for our super fast connection, just know that if you use it any more than your current, slower connection it’s going to cost you, a lot.’

AT&T's worst enemy says:

AT&T will not put any more fiber in the ground for copper already exists they do not want to spend that kind of money, due to the fact they have to line the pockets of the union,bigwig worthless employees and pay for advertising that is not needed. AT&T is the biggest con artists on the face of the earth, they will lie to you boldly and get away with it

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: AT&T Fiber order

Ah, well you see, when they say it’s ‘available in your area’, they don’t actually mean that it’s available in your area now, just that it might, at some point in the future, possibly be available in your area.

Common mistake caused by people who don’t expect the cable companies to lie in whatever manner they believe will best serve their interests.

zxern says:

Isn't it obvious?

It seems quite obvious what they are really up to. It’s the same shit Verizon is doing. They are building up the wireless service under the guise of building fiber to the home. Once they finish they’ll sell of the “last mile” to some other company just like Verizon is doing. This is why no/very little actual “last mile” wiring is being done.

Anonymous Coward says:

flip the switch on existing fiber

Can anyone here speak to the amount of FTTH fiber already deployed in U-verse markets? My neighborhood (middle-class by the way) was built 8 years ago and got fiber to the home. Of course the speeds available have always been limited by the U-verse product max of 24 Mbps. Now AT&T gets to claim something amazing by making a QoS change. I gather about 1 million homes in the US are in the same situation….probably spread across those 56 metro areas in AT&T’s announcement.

Industry Guy says:

Hmmm, ATT Vs. Google

So, I would all but guarantee that ATT has more available passings in all markets it has gone “head to head” with Google on fiber than Google does. Our neighborhood isn’t on Google’s radar, we got fiber. No McMansions, no curbs or streetlights, but it was an easy neighborhood to build fiber to as it is all aerial. That is the true decider.

Point of fact, a friend paid the Google $5 enrollment to get fiber. After all the grandstanding by “the google”, ATT was first into the neighborhood by six months. Google is still struggling to get the low-income neighborhoods lit and ATT is beating them to all parts of Austin. Cable has added a 300Mb option since Google announced.

It was funny to hear my friends that, like this guy, don’t know dick about telecom get excited about Google Fiber when it was announced not knowing how small the initial footprint would be and how long it would take. FWIW, Google does track your internet usage.

Bham Fiber (profile) says:

Re: Fiber Optics availabitily

Where exactly is your company located @Laura ? — I’m curious what fiber optics cost paying for them straight out of pocket for a pipline.

ATT Gigapower is deploying in Birmingham,.. but they only deploy to a few thousand homes and that’s their deployment. IE: Less than 1% of people will have Gigapower availability — and that is considered “deployed”. I have no idea why they don’t convert their aging, 15 year old speeds to this service.. but they aren’t. They are doing this at least in part to satisfy the 12.5 Million customer requirement by 2020 (iirc) served with true broadband (which is 25Mbps or greater) for buying DirecTV.

David Cobb (profile) says:

AT&T's Uverse Fiber Optics Service

I think the media should investigate the communications giant AT&T, in that they consistently devise schemes to rip their customers off. I have been a long time AT&T customer, but not exactly a happy one. They have systematically scammed me out of hundreds of dollars in a variety of ways over the years, and I think it is high time someone called them out on it. I have seen my bills inconsistently sky-rocket over non-sense erroneous charges, not to mention I’ve been lied to in a variety of different ways. One such way is… If you’ve ever upgraded and then later want to downgrade back to a package you had previously, they tell you that they no longer offer the same package as before you upgraded. If you were to go to their website, you would find that to be true. Or, is it really? If you were to go to their site from someone else’s computer (a non-AT&T customer for instance), you would find that NOT to be true. This is because they have recorded your IP address as part of their record. This is also the reason that they will restrict content unless you turn off “private browsing”. Another lie is that if they aren’t satisfied with the amount of money your paying them, they will yet devise another scheme by putting you on an upgraded promotional deal; then later on after the promotion is over, your still left at the upgraded package and your bill suddenly becomes more expensive to pay. If you call to complain and tell them you never asked for the upgrade in the first place; well then, they’ll just tell you that you’ve already had the package for sometime now and “How come you didn’t complain before, in all of that time? But wait, we have another promotion where it will be cheaper than what your new bill currently is now” (just not cheaper than what you were paying). Yet another lie of theirs, is that they have thousands of customers fooled into thinking that they have fiber-optics technology in their homes. I for one, am being charged as an upgraded customer from DSL to Uverse (which is suppose to be fiber-optics technology). I am here to tell you; I know what fiber-optics technology is, and there’s no fiber-optic cables run in my home. I think the media should do a complete and full investigation of all their sneaky ways to extract a buck or two out of their customers. I also believe that they have most of their own personnel fooled into believing what their installing is somehow fiber-optic related. But if you really knew how fiber-optics works, you would know that is the furthest thing from the truth. It is just another one of their many lies, perpetrated to deepen their pockets with their customers money. It’s no wonder that they are one of the largest, if not “the” largest communications giant in the nation.

Anonymous Coward says:

You don’t know if you aren’t out there. AT&T walked into my Comcast-controlled broadband neighborhood, dug up all the streets, caused traffic nightmares for a week or two and now we all have GigaPower. I’ve checked, nary a rich man in my neighborhood unless they’re being incognito and no millennialis to speak of – just middle class families with kids. Maybe you should have done some actual investigative reporting as several of the comments on here clearly state that people are getting GigaPower and aren’t in the types of developments you mentioned and I can assure you, the ARE digging stuff up and causing quite a mess in the process. I’ll take the pain for gig.e service

Dang says:

Biased much?

You must hate AT&T! I have no love for them i had their DSL once when i had no other choice and it sucked. I’ve been on brighthouse 200mbps cable for the last 3 years, and it costs me 130 a month since i don’t bundle.

AT&T came in our neighborhood, one that is about 10 years old, and dug up everyones front lawn and laid fiber down, then 3 months later activated it and now i can get the gigapower 1 gig speed for $80 a month bundled with my directv.

Your article seems pretty biased, they are installing it right now as i type this. Seems all your points you were making apply 0 to my situation.

Old neighborhood, houses are 150-200k, they laid their own fiber, and it’s cheaper than faster brighthouse cables top speeds.

Rob says:

do not forget modem rip offs

Also they told me I had to upgrade my modem because they were updating the network. They never touched the network here.
The told me the new modem was free. When I got it they charged me a $7 monthly rental fee. Sent the modem back
and they said ‘too bad, you will have that rental fee every month forever, whether you use the new modem or not’.
Of course I cancelled the service immediately.

Crooks and liars!

Cypher says:

Re: do not forget modem rip offs

I install these everyday and not once have I ever heard of this happening. My guess is that you had a bad customer service rep (call again and speak to someone else), you misunderstood, or you’re just blowing something out of proportion. If you would rather use your own modem please provide one that is capable of gigabit speeds during the install and the technician will happily connect it for you if it works.

Anonymous Coward says:

It only makes since that ATT chooses richer neighbourhoods first, they need a return on their fiber investment.

They came in my area as well to install Fiber. In my area, Bright House is better on speed and Comcast is better on both speed and price. The neighbourhood is so old that none of the houses have a four line phone cable installed in the walls. It only uses two line phone cables. This limited the speed they could deliver. I think this was one of the deciding factor because the infrastructure that had made it 100% impossible to compete. Newer neighbourhoods have four line phone cables in the wall. I also told them that the cost it would take me to install a new line into my house was so high that it would only be worth the cost if it was a fiber connection.

Trae says:


As an AT&T technician that installs fiber everyday in ATL I can say this is BS. I’m always working in rundown neighborhoods installing fiber and go to many “affluent” neighborhoods that are stuck on IP-RT (IPDSL) lines because fiber isn’t available. AT&T doesn’t cherry pick it’s neighborhoods based on income/race/new or old/etc…well maybe a little bit of the new or old. New neighborhoods are being built with fiber infrastructure in place because it’s easier to do it when there is nothing there than when all the buildings are already constructed. So, in that case, yes. But we are expanding our networks ALL OVER. Older neighborhoods might even have a bit of priority over neighborhoods with decent VDSL lines because some of those neighborhoods are only offered the lowest tiered service AT&T has to offer on copper-based lines (IP-CO [1.5mbps-10mbps down] or IP-RT). Most ppl don’t want that so they go with Comcast. By bringing in fiber to those neighborhoods it opens the possibility of bringing in more customers to AT&T. That’s just business smart. So, in closing, no, AT&T doesn’t discriminate on where it brings fiber. Be patient, we will get to you soon enough.

Jesse Brooks says:

Re: Misleading

Is there any way you can put in a word for Thomson, Georgia lol? My house on Lincolnton Highway is stuck on 1.5mpbs DSL and ATT is not letting ANYONE else get on it anymore. In addition, they have not run any Fiber whatsoever so people (myself included) have 0 options to and ISP. . . Currently using Verizon Unlimited because there are no other options since ATT never upgraded or replaced their ancient DSL run here.

Stiffy says:

Fiber Optic to a point (if at all)

AT&T went through the neighborhood back in October filling the people with a load of shit. While many consumers are informed about things relative to their thinking, when it comes to computers and networks, many “think” the know enough while most “don’t know” enough. My landlord falls into the latter category. But it ain’t my house and he’s always looking for the bigger, better deal.

The salesman that came to the house to provide my landlord with sketchy details of the “new fiber optic lines” that they just got finished installing in our area was less than pleased with my line of questioning. After he discounted the reliability and consistencies in the speed of cable, I asked him how they would be connecting their fiber optic line to the house. He proceeded to skirt around a solid answer till I asked him, point blank, if they were going to piggy back off the cable lines that were already connected to the house. His answer, though not direct as the question I asked, was “yes”.

Long story short… If they connect the fictitious fiber optic line to the existing cable, then the legendary speed they boast about is going to run into that imaginary wall they tell you about which is slowing down the mythical speeds you could be reaching if you switch over to their system. Broadband providers use to guarantee speeds for Up/Down….they don’t anymore, they just give you a range (much like the range they give you when they set your appointment for the install or any service they have to provide for your issues. A window, is it?)

Their system is no better than what you already have. If it is higher internet speeds you want, stick with what you have and pay the additional monthly charge for a faster speed and don’t go through the headache of arguing with tech support that will constantly blame your issues on faulty or legacy equipment that the tech had on his truck when he/she installed your system.

When I buy my home, I will be going back to Cox Communications. AT&T isn’t worth my time.

lukpac (profile) says:

Not vaporware

We live in an older neighborhood in Milwaukee where, until recently, 3 Mbps DSL was the only service available from AT&T. A couple of years ago AT&T announced a fiber roll out in Milwaukee, and we were skeptical. About a year ago they announced fiber was actually available in some areas, but it appeared it was probably just in new MDUs; it was available in a few new apartment buildings down the street, but seemingly nowhere else.

However, a few months ago, we got a flyer in the mail indicating fiber was available. I was still skeptical, but called, and it was indeed available at our house. I put in an order, and a few days later a tech was out installing it. Our 1897 house now has gigabit fiber from AT&T.

The tech indicated that they are focusing on areas with older infrastructure, and that areas with newer copper are a lower priority. I certainly haven’t seen fiber everywhere, but in terms of Wisconsin, I’ve seen it in lots of places around Milwaukee, Madison, and Racine.

I have no idea what AT&T’s schedule is, nor what their plans are outside of urban areas, but there’s no question that 1) fiber *is* being rolled out and 2) it isn’t just to new developments.

Thomas says:

Nothing has Changed since 2015

Well, here we are and it is now 2018 Nothing has changed, ATT is still “pretending” they are doing all these great things and they have done almost nothing. . . The average home still has lower speeds than underdeveloped third world nations, the USA now 18th in broadband deployment, behind nations like Singapore, who enjoy much greater speeds than most Americans do and at a lower cost, So exactly when are we going to Fire ATT?

Mike says:

More broken promises from AT&T

When AT&T bought BellSouth in 2006, establishing its wireline presence in 22 states, AT&T got the merger approved by promising to offer home Internet service of at least 200kbps (meeting the definition of broadband at the time) “to 100 percent of the residential living units in the AT&T/BellSouth in-region territory.” AT&T was supposed to meet the requirement by December 31, 2007.
So many times they breal their promises, not holding my breath .

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