Tag: DSL

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

AT&T Just Screwed Over DSL Customers and Rural America

Illustration for article titled ATT Just Screwed Over DSL Customers and Rural America

Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP (Getty Images)

As of Oct. 1, AT&T has stopped offering DSL as a new service, according to USA Today. Existing DSL subscribers, who connect to the internet via copper phone lines, will be grandfathered in. DSL is definitely old technology, but many people, especially in rural areas, still rely on it for internet access. Internet service providers have mostly focused on expanding cable broadband and fiber networks in wealthy metropolitan and suburban areas. Basically, if you don’t already have DSL service and you need to connect to the internet, you may be completely out of options.

AT&T has seen the number of DSL subscribers slowly decrease over the years. The telecom reported 653,000 total DSL connections at the end of the second quarter of 2020, compared to nearly 14.5 million fiber customers, USA Today noted. That low DSL subscriber number is not surprising considering how broadband has grown and expanded since the ‘90s, but cutting off service without providing another option leaves many customers in digital darkness.

According to a joint report from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDLA), AT&T has been installing just the fiber foundation in some unserved and underserved areas, but not actually installing the rest of the equipment needed to connect it to other homes outside of a specific area. About 18 million U.S. households do not have broadband of any kind, including mobile or satellite, and 14 million of those households are in urban areas—the remaining 4 million are in rural areas. Of the 53 million households in AT&T’s home internet service areas, only about 15 million of them have access to fiber.

The report notes that households with fiber internet tend to be wealthier, with a median income about 34%

05
Oct
2020
Posted in internet

AT&T kills DSL, leaves tens of millions of homes without fiber Internet

A snail resting on a computer mouse, to illustrate slow Internet service.

Getty IMages | Synergee

AT&T has deployed fiber-to-the-home Internet to less than 30 percent of the households in its 21-state territory, according to a new report that says AT&T has targeted wealthy, non-rural areas in its fiber upgrades.

The report, co-written by an AT&T workers union and an advocacy group, is timely, being issued just a few days after AT&T confirmed it will stop connecting new customers to its aging DSL network. That does not mean customers in DSL areas will get fiber, because AT&T last year said it was mostly done expanding its fiber service. AT&T said at the time that it would only expand fiber incrementally, in areas where it makes financial sense for AT&T to do so. We’ll provide more detail on the DSL cutoff later in this article—in short, the fiber/copper hybrid known as AT&T Internet is still offered to new customers, but the slower product that AT&T sells under the DSL name is being discontinued except for existing customers.

Citing data that ISPs are required to submit to the Federal Communications Commission, the report issued today said that AT&T had built fiber-to-the-home to 28 percent of the households in its footprint as of June 30, 2019. The report was written by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union that represents AT&T employees; and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), an advocacy group that has been tracking AT&T’s broadband deployments for years. The groups say that AT&T has left rural areas and people with low incomes with old, inadequate broadband services.

There are 52.97 million households in AT&T’s home-Internet service area, and 14.93 million of them have fiber-to-the-home access, the CWA told Ars. The fiber percentages were particularly bad in some states, with rates of 14 to 16 percent in Michigan, Illinois, Mississippi, and Arkansas,