Hmmm. It depends on WHY you're getting those slow speeds. Simply changing providers, in and of itself, usually wouldn't magically improve your speeds (the exception being if it were a configuration error on AT&T's servers, or if they were trying to cap your speed somehow). However, if you did switch over to us, then we could troubleshoot and find out why you might be having slow speeds. If you're having slow speeds simply because you're too far out from your local DSLAM, then there's not much we can do; your physical loop length distance is a cold, hard reality that can limit your max speed. However, if you're having slow speeds because of something that CAN be fixed, like a damaged phone cable, then we can and will get a tech out to fix that.
Unfortunately, you're not with us right now so I can't run a physical line test for you; you'd have to call your local AT&T phone tech for that. However, if you get a good tech, you can ask them if you're getting the full 'sync' rate or not.
A) If you're getting the full sync rate, then that means your modem is getting the full signal, so whatever's slowing your connection down is digital in nature (for example, if a virus had hijacked your computer, or your firewall was malfunctioning, or if you were running a torrent in the background on one of your computers that was hogging all your bandwidth).
B) If you're NOT getting the full sync rate, then that means there's something physical in nature slowing down your connection (for example, a loose cord, or modem dying, or a short on the line, etc.).
Another thing you can ask about is congestion. I like to describe congestion as 'a traffic jam on the information superhighway'. Simply put, when you have too many people trying to route too much data through the same route, you can basically overload the equipment, which means some connections running through it can get slowed down to a crawl. One common symptom (but not a guarantee) of congestion is when your connection works at full speed most of the time, but tends to crash in speed in the evenings (say around 8pm-midnight or so). If you're in a congested area, the only real fix is to get new equipment in the area to help alleviate the load, or to get your connection moved over to some less-stressed equipment to balance the load out.
So... yeah. You're not our customer (yet?) but I hope that helps. If it's something within our power to fix, feel free to switch over and we'll gladly do everything we can to get your speeds back to normal. If it's something that's beyond our area of influence (eg. you're just too far out), then I don't want to make any promises blindly.
I'm afraid not. When you sign up for a 12-month contract, we have to provision a 12-month contract with the ILEC... so if you decide to cancel early, that leaves us holding the bag, so to speak.
If you're unsure about switching, you might want to consider it from a price perspective. The annual contract does lock you in for a 12-month period, but you get a cheaper price for those 12 months, so if it's cheaper than what you'd get from AT&T then you might as well (after all, if it's something that CAN be fixed, then we'll get it fixed for you... if it's something that CAN'T be fixed (like you're too far out) then it's not like AT&T's going to be able to fix it for you).
On the other hand, if you are going to give up on DSL altogether if it can't be fixed (some areas just CAN'T get good DSL because they're out in the country or whatever), then you might want to consider the month-to-month subscription as a 'safe gamble' to see if we can fix it for you, and if we can't fix it for you then it can't be fixed, period.