News tagged: AT&T DSL Service
AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV appears to getting lost in the furor over Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, something AT&T likely anticipated. Out of the gate AT&T was misleading about the benefits of the deal
, which, unlike the Comcast merger, will actually eliminate a pay TV competitor from the field. Color consumer group Public Knowledge unimpressed; the group's petition to deny
unsurprisingly asks the FCC to block the deal.
According to the group, the deal "would increase AT&T's incentive to push customers away from wired connections onto wireless ones that might not suit their needs, reduce the number of pay TV options customers have in U-Verse territories, and increase AT&T's incentive to discriminate against online video."
Unless the FCC can somehow eliminate these harms, and verify that AT&T's promises of added broadband deployment are genuine, the deal should be blocked, argues Public Knowledge.
That's the rub; as I've noted previously
, AT&T's been making effectively the same empty promises of broadband expansion each time they make an acquisition for ten years, with regulators (or the press) failing repeatedly to fact check. It seems unlikely that they're going to start doing so now. That leaves consumers hoping the FCC imposes meaningful conditions and then actually enforces them, another historical challenge
for the agency.
"In the event the FCC does elect to grant this merger with conditions, it must make sure those conditions are verifiable and enforceable," the group continues.
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS (plain old telephone) and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade
. The name of the game is terminating these unwanted users and pushing them users toward significantly more expensive (and capped) LTE wireless service.
After Google Fiber announced their expansion plans to Austin, AT&T rushed to announce that they too would be offering 1 Gbps service in the weird city. There were of course caveats for AT&T's service, including a bevy of fees not included in Google Fiber connections and a $30 surcharge
if you refused to have your online behavior tracked and monetized.
Back in March AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson insisted that AT&T's 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service would arrive in Dallas sometime this summer
, but like much of the company's 1 Gbps deployment, specifics (deployment areas, total cost, number of users) was left ambiguous. Today AT&T got a little more specific, stating the company would be offering the ultra-fast service in "Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding cities" before the summer is out.
Long-time telecom analyst Bruce Kushnick has a good read
exploring how AT&T keeps making the same broadband deployment promises over and over again every time they want something from government, and nobody in the technology press can be bothered to notice. In 2004, in addition to 100 Mbps lines never provided, AT&T (then SBC) promised to deploy broadband to every home in their 22-state footprint in exchange for regulators locking the FiOS and U-Verse networks off from open access policies and competition.
At the same time AT&T was quietly informing investors that the company would be cutting fixed-line network investment
, the company was telling regulators that they'd expand fiber to the home 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service if their acquisition of DirecTV is approved. In filings with regulators
, AT&T promised that if regulators approve their takeover of DirecTV, the company would deploy Gigapower to two million locations:
AT&T said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that the DirecTV deal would enable it to upgrade 2 million additional locations to "Gigapower" fiber connections, and expand high speed broadband coverage overall to 13 million locations.
Jefferies analyst George Notter wrote a note to investors this week
that AT&T "significantly reduced" the company's spending on their fixed-line network last month, something that has spooked AT&T hardware vendors like Ciena, Juniper and Adtran. If you've been reading our reports this shouldn't shock you; AT&T's been cutting fixed-line network investment each year for some time.
Lafayette Louisiana's LUS Fiber faced very sleazy efforts by Cox and BellSouth
years ago when trying to launch; efforts that went so far as the two companies hiring push pollsters to try and tell locals taxpayer money would be used to fund pornography. Some pollsters even tried to tell locals that if they approved the municipal broadband project, the government would restrict their television watching
to just a few days a week.
AT&T didn't waste any time today selling the company's planned acquisition of DirecTV
using AT&T's special brand of massaged statistics and misleading claims. Both AT&T and DirecTV CEOs are already promising that eliminating a pay TV competitor will somehow bring consumers more competitive pricing, though most consumer argue the exact opposite is likely to happen.
So why is AT&T rumored to be buying DirecTV in a deal estimated to be worth $50 billion? To hear USAToday tell it
, it's because AT&T wants to bundle satellite TV service with DSL in areas they don't sell U-Verse TV, but somebody apparently forgot to tell the news outlet that AT&T is busy hanging up on most of these users
because they don't want to upgrade them, making that theory less likely.
Perhaps they're just really excited to get into the satellite TV business? Except the satellite business isn't a high growth market, it's a highly saturated market meaning no real subscriber growth in TV user additions in the foreseeable future.
When AT&T first launched their 1 Gbps (which is still actually 300 Mbps
, but whatever) "Gigapower" service in Austin late last year in response to Google Fiber, the company's pricing raised a few eyebrows. In addition to the $350 ETF, installation and activation fees (which Google doesn't charge), AT&T only matched Google's $70 pricing point if you agreed to opt in to the company's Internet Preferences
, which goes beyond Google-esque snooping to use deep packet inspection to track each and every website you visit, and for how long.
At the Cable Show today in Los Angeles, former cable lobbyist turned current FCC boss Tom Wheeler was ironically interviewed by former FCC boss turned cable lobbyist Michael Powell. In his comments to attendees
, Wheeler again tried to defend critics that say the Chairman's new neutrality rules actually do more harm than good
, in that they codify and protect incumbent ISP dreams of imposing all manner of new surcharges upon content companies and users.
Last week we noted how AT&T's decision to maybe
deploy 1 Gbps fiber to 100 cities was a major bluff
, in that AT&T isn't willing to actually spend the money to make that happen. Fixed-line investment is dropping year over year, and "GigaPower" is largely just a PR exercise aimed at countering Google Fiber in the media.
AT&T's 1 Gbps "Gigapower" product is currently only available in a portion of one market: Austin, Texas. At the moment users pay $70 ($100 if you don't want AT&T monetizing your browsing habits
) for 300 Mbps, though AT&T insists users will be able to get 1 Gbps service later this year.
Shortly after Google announced Google Fiber in Austin, AT&T announced that they too would be offering 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service in the city as well (though it's currently 300 Mbps
). At the time, AT&T denied that the move was in any way motivated by Google Fiber, and that AT&T was planning all along to offer 1 Gbps connections (even if no evidence supports that claim, and millions of AT&T users are lucky to get 6 Mbps).
AT&T today announced that the company is "eyeing" 100 potential target cities as locations they may
deploy faster 1 Gbps "Gigapower" service. According to the company's press release
, this "major initiative" will target 100 "candidate cities and municipalities" across 21 metropolitan areas nationwide.
Currently only available in a small portion of Austin at speeds of 300 Mbps, AT&T has recently hinted that their "1 Gbps Gigapower" U-Verse upgrade will soon be coming to portions of Dallas
and San Antonio
. Now AT&T is hinting that the faster service could appear in portions of the Triangle and Piedmont Triad regions of North Carolina.
For much of the last year Netflix streaming problems have plagued customers of large ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast
. To hear companies like Netflix and Level 3 tell it
, the large ISPs are letting peering connectivity intentionally degrade for two reasons: 1
, to make services that compete with their own products look bad and 2
, in the hopes of forcing content companies to pay significantly higher rates for direct interconnection.
The other day AT&T's top policy man Jim Cicconi called Netflix "arrogant"
and a freeloader, simply for expressing concern that large last-mile ISPs were looking to abuse peering relationships for profit and power. AT&T's comments weren't entirely unlike comments made by the company back in 2005, when then CEO Ed Whitacre poured gasoline on the network neutrality fight by insisting companies like Google wouldn't be able to "ride our pipes for free."
They don't, never have, and never will.
·more stories, story search, most popular ..
Recent news contributors
, Karl Bode