An AT&T insider familiar with the company's network upgrade plans has provided me with documented proof that U-Verse speed upgrade trials are very much in the works in trials scattered around the country. While the insider couldn't confirm some of the earlier claims we've seen made
by anonymous Internet forum posters that AT&T will ultimately offer U-Verse speeds upwards of 65 Mbps, they did confirm that the documentation shows the new bonded modem/gateway (MGV589) they're running in these trials is documented as capable of 45 Mbps downstream.
That's still not going to put U-Verse on par with many of the faster cable options they're lagging behind, but it's an improvement all the same.
The source had no additional detail on a timeline for when these faster speeds will leave trials and arrive in the wild, though it seems clear they should arrive sometime this summer or fall. AT&T executives had hinted at speeds of 75 or even 100 Mbps being in the works earlier this year.
"With our plant technology advancements, 90 percent of our U-verse customer locations will have the capability to receive what we project to be 75 Mbps -- and 75 percent will have the capability to receive up to 100 Mbps," AT&T CEO John Donovan said back in January. "Almost 80 percent of the IP DSLAM customer locations will have the capability to receive 45 Mbps, with about half of those having the capability to receive up to 75 Mbps."
To obtain anywhere close to these kinds of speeds users will need to have quality copper lines, actually have additional pairs to bond together, and must be on shorter loop lengths (around 2,000 feet or less from the VRAD). Many AT&T users struggle to see 3 Mbps, so suggesting that 80-90% of U-Verse customers will qualify for these speeds is very unlikely. There's also the little issue of usage caps, which the company -- for now -- isn't enforcing on U-Verse services