AT&T appears poised to begin offering new U-Verse speed tiers that should offer a belated speed increase for bandwidth-hungry users. Earlier this year AT&T promised users
they'd eventually see 75-100 Mbps using line bonding, though the company was somewhat murky on deployment time -- or upstream speeds. Now an anonymous employee in our forums
claims that the speed increases are getting closer, but 75 Mbps won't be part of the initial round of speed bumps.
According to the employee, AT&T will begin a trial of these new offerings later this month in Dallas. The company will also start using bonded pairs for all new U-Verse installs so faster speeds will be possible for those users without a visit. As for speed and pricing, the source claims here
that AT&T's new tiers will look something like this when they roll out late this year:
$41 - 3 Mbps/1 Mbps
$51 - 18 Mbps/ 1.5Mbps
$66 - 30 Mbps/ 3 Mbps
$86 - 45 Mbps/ 6 Mbps
$xx - 60 Mbps/ 6 Mbps (future tier)
$xx - 75 Mbps/ 10 Mbps (future tier)
The slower tiers up to 45 Mbps will show up first, with the faster options arriving down the line. Current 6 Mbps users will be grandfathered on their current plans unless they want to switch. Current 12 Mbps users will be bumped to 18 Mbps for free, says the tipster. 18 Mbps users will be bumped to 24 Mbps then grandfathered, as the 24 Mbps tier will be eliminated. Current 24 Mbps users will be bumped to 30 Mbps. Prices of course would change depending on how much local competition AT&T sees.
I contacted AT&T for verification, and while the company wouldn't comment on speed increases, they did re-iterate earlier promises to deliver 75 Mbps to users.
"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."
As noted previously, Donovan's predictions seem optimistic. 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 musty 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 seems like a Yoga-grade stretch. Also keep in mind AT&T has stated they'll be capping U-Verse users, even if they're not currently enforcing those caps.
While the speed increases are welcome, the price/speed/cap ratio still may have trouble matching cable in many U-Verse markets, particularly on the upstream side of the street. Your thoughts on this rumored new pricing?