AT&T's U-verse dissected.

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Uverse new blog

On the horizon Time Warner Internet speed upgrades.

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May 24, 2013 marked our one year anniversary of Time Warner DOCSIS3.0 arriving in our area it also marks the 'introduction' of AT&T's 3 Mbps uverse ( yeah you got it right, three Mbps ). One year has passed and the current rumor (actually more than a rumor) is that TWI (Time Warner Internet) is ready to pull the trigger and upgrade or offer their customers 100 Mbps. Some divisions already have changed their websites to reflect the new speed tiers as the following picture shows. In spite of the fact that TWI clearly states that 'Our fastest speed ever, only available in Kansas City' TWI have upgraded many markets to 8 downstream and 4 upstream channels. TWI is notorious for telling one thing and doing another, remember when they said that DOCSIS3.0 deployments were going to be 'surgical'? Today TWI DOCSIS3.0 deployments are almost everywhere offering their subscribers 50/5 Mbps so it is safe to assume that they are planning to use those additional 4 downstream and 3 upstream channels when the time is right.

 

Which brings us to the following (current) AT&T rumors.

More Rumors of AT&T U-Verse Speed Upgrades

Confirmed: AT&T Conducting Trials for Faster U-Verse Speeds

It is baffling to see the sheer number and aggressiveness of these new AT&T uverse rumors considering that official AT&T communications is nonexistent and the news is coming from 'rogue' individuals claiming to be 'installers' and plain low level AT&T employees.

Inquisitive minds may ask why? Why make yet another round of upgrade rumors? Why is official comments missing? Why comment on trials and not on real products? Why, why, why.

We have a sinister explanation. Obviously whatever AT&T have up their sleeves is not enough to match MSOs ( cable juggernauts ) speed offerings. While AT&T release their marketing bulldogs to bark and make noise in every internet related forum the cable juggernauts continue to deliver real tangible products, for example; Cablevision Deploying a Suite of Speed Upgrades.  In Cablevision's case there is no ambiguity, Cablevision have some new higher speed packages and they want to sell them to the public... period. There is no trial, no ifs or buts or when. We have something here that is very good and fast and we want to sell it to you, right now.

The sinister explanation is that AT&T must be feeling the pressure and they need to get something dirty and fast (notice that the rumors don't mention anything higher than 60 Mbps) just to make sure speed starved uverse subscribers don't switch internet providers. The 'switch from plain vanilla ADSL to uverse ADSL' scheme must be drying up and AT&T needs to come up with yet another investor approved scheme (something in the likes of borrow from Peter to ay Paul of financial earnings reports) to generate optimism. Our guess is that with the latest cable juggernaut speed upgrades (+100 Mbps and up) more and more uverse subscribers are thinking it twice and abandoning AT&T's ship. It doesn't make any sense to stay with 3 Mbps in un-upgraded markets or with up-to 18 Mbps in upgraded markets when subscribers can get 30, 50, 100, +100 Mbps with the cable juggernaut at the same prices.

AT&T will never acknowledge uverse subscriber loss or missed a quarter, after all they are 'the smartest guys in the room' they will always find a way to meet subscriber growth and quarterly expectations.

 

 

As AT&T turns (the soap opera) episode 3.

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A reader kindly sent us an update to this very funny AT&T soap opera... thanks Leary, A.

In previous episodes we saw Merlin state that AT&T is the greatest and largest company in the whole uverse universe, that their uverse Internet plans are 'competitive' and that uverse subscribers are very happy and grateful with what AT&T is giving them... that was... lets see on October 2011. After two more episodes of  'As AT&T turns' user fakarooz came out of the closet and announced that user Kraygur and user Anon12901921 posts about uverse prices were correct.


User fakarooz said then:
THESE QUOTED SPEEDS AND PRICES ARE NOT CORRECT IN ANY WAY! WHOEVER THIS "KRAYGUR" PERSON IS, IS NOT PROVIDING YOU WITH CORRECT INFORMATION. THERE ARE NOT INTERNAL DOCUMENTS DEALING WITH SPEED UPGRADES NOR ARE THERE DOCUMENTS THAT STATE WHAT THE NEW SPEEDS ARE.
It is still too early for at&t to have the pricing ready and it takes several months before pricing is finalized, let alone the speeds that are going to be offered. As I have stated before, at&t is simply using Dallas as a TESTBED for the new back end equipment, CPE, and speed tiers. Though the network upgrades were planned for at least a year, it was only announced last Novemeber. In addition, there is no possible way for at&t to announce these new speeds "by the end of march" especially when our backend equipment suppliers haven't even started manufacturing the new line cards yet.
Please listen carefully to me: These initial speed upgrades will come at the earliest by the end of 2013 and not by the end this month. Over the next three years, WE WILL offer speeds up to 100 mbps.
Many of you believe that "at&t old copper lines are old, corroded, and can't handle faster speeds". I'm going to outline this for you how we will be able to offer speeds up to 100mbps in the future: 1. Vectoring- shows to be able to increase max rates at least 50% 2. Profile 17a- doubles the bandwidth available to your modem. With this comes more upload speeds and download speeds. Nearly doubles your upload speeds and increases download speeds by about 50% especially on short loops (1400ft) 3. Pair Bonding- when used with vectoring, it nearly doubles your max rate. With the new RG being able to pair bond, installations are simplified for technicians making the technology available to the masses
Using the three technologies stated above, anyone on the current 32Meg profile should see and be able to receive max sync speeds well above 100 mbps. People currently on the 25Meg profile will be able to see speeds Above 70mbps. These upgrades to our network is supposed to increase your max sync rates by 3-4x.
I can't speak on behalf of the ADSL2+ based customers and have no information regarding them
user fakarooz said:

So I just got word a few days ago that pricing has been finalized for the new speed tiers. These new speeds will be brefly talked about during the quarterly earnings report on April 23. Markets that are upgraded via project VIP will have a separate set of pricing tiers than non-upgraded markets. Non-upgraded markets will retain current pricing. The new speeds and pricing is listed as follows:
3/1 $41 12/1.5 $51 18/1.5 $56 30/3 $66 45/6 $86 60/6 $106 75/10 $121
The capability for the 100mbps tier is certainly there, but it won't be rolled out for another year. I don't know much more information other than what I have previously stated. Hope everyone is as excited as much as our employees are in rolling this out!

These 'new' uverse speeds have been cooking since our inside source told us in... let's see... December 2010. In short, trials will start in Dallas, TX at some point later this year and based on the success or failure of the trials upgrades will be made available to the average Joe in 'January-February 2014' depending on distance and condition of the copper plant of course. The 'capability for the 100 Mbps' tier won't be rolled out for another year so that would be... let's see... by January-February of 2015?

Oh yeah we are very, very excited on the new 'super' speeds that uverse have to offer us and at a very competitive and affordable prices too /sarcasm. We pay Time Warner Internet $50 a month for 50/5 Mbps with a promo of one year, in Dallas, TX TWI already offers 75/5 Mbps and ready to increase internet speeds with the 'flip of a switch'. Comcast on the other hand is in a league of it's own with vastly superior internet speeds at much better prices than what uverse offer. Other cable outfits offer similar speeds/prices that those offered by Comcast or TWI.

 

Amusing uverse upgrade rumors getting even better.

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A reader kindly sent us a link to this post from the uverse's forum at Broadband Reports.

User anon12901921, a new character in this very funny online comedy posted a picture of a confidential pamphlet showing uverse's new speeds and prices. Funny thing is that AT&T is using pamphlets to release confidential information to their employees. A letter, memo or an email would have been a better option but hey they 'don't care they don't have to... they ARE the phone company'. Watch video here.

uverse

If all these anonymous employees are real and they are doing this without authorization from AT&T they could end up into the unemployment office in a second. One method corporate and government agencies use to identify leaks is by providing suspects of leaks information with slightly different little details. For example, in this case AT&T's internal security department could give employee Mary information about upgrades with $65 for the 30/3 Mbps tier and then give employee Joe a price of $67 for the 30/3 tier and last employee Pat a price of $60 for the 30/3 Mbps tier.

When this information is leaked into the general public all that the security officer has to do is to look at the prices, if the price for the 30/3 Mbps tier is $67 then they already identified the whistle-blower... which points to Joe.

User etaadmin correctly mentions that the poster used TOR to disguise his identity. The posting domain supports this theory as the source shows @ccc.de. Maybe the poster used a VPN or TOR or other ways to disguise his/her identity.

Back to the post, if those numbers are true then AT&T has a big problem when competing against the cable juggernauts. As the poster correctly mentioned the price for Comcast's 105/20 Mbps tier is cheaper than AT&T's 75/10 Mbps tier and this is without any contract or promotion. So Comcast's subscribers get much more for much less. AT&T can't be serious about those prices and besides did anybody noticed that the 100 Mbps tier is missing from the list? Another interesting thing to note is that the poster mentions January-February 2014 for the upgrades (distance limited of course) We were joking when quoting Duke Nukem' and wrote 'What are you waitin' for... Christmas? Christmas 2014?' but our sarcasm was actually on target... AMAZING!

So here we have user anon12901921 giving us the prices for uverse's new plans and we have user Kraygur giving us the same prices with the exception of the last two tiers and we have user fakarooz telling us that both are wrong. Looks like AT&T have their whistle-blowers or AT&T is using these employees to test the waters and measure subscriber response to those absurd prices for slow internet speeds.

So we will have to wait until 2014 for our answer. Most likely DOCSIS 3.1 will be ready for deployment by then and then back to square 1 for AT&T and their elusive uverse upgrade.

 

Get ready, DOCSIS 3.1 coming to an ISP near you.

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As we wait for uverse's upgrade 'trials' to hit the Dallas, TX area and for 'controlled' deployments by Christmas 2013 (if you still believe that) the cable juggernauts continue to work on their DOCSIS 3.1 doom's-day-machine weapon scheduled for deployment at the end of 2013 or early 2014.

In another excellent article by Jeff Baumgarten he explains the pros and cons of DOCSIS 3.1.

The 'main obstacle' if you can call it an obstacle is to free 24MHz worth of bandwidth space. As Jeff Finkelstein (Executive Director of Network Architecture at COX) stated switching to OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) and LDPC (low density parity check) will make the system use the bandwidth much more efficiently. 

Which gives us a 20 to 30% gain. So even in any existing plant just by enabling these two technologies we're going to get a very good boost in the amount of bandwidth that is available trough DOCSIS.

As we have mentioned before OFDM is basically DMT with tones (sub-carriers) set at 25 KHz or 50 KHz wide giving us 960 or 480 discrete sub-carriers or tones in a 24 MHz system. These changes will push DOCSIS 3.1 into multiple gigabit territory, more as the technology expands to the assigned 192 MHz block so 24 Mhz is the 'entry point' for DOCSIS 3.1

To start 24 Mhz is not that much, according to Finkelstein this 'magic number' was reached because in the US we use 6 MHz wide carriers while in Europe they use 8 MHz wide carriers so a common denominator is 24 ( 4 US channels or 3 European channels ) Recent FCC rulings gave the cable juggernauts a green light to reclaim the analog space used by basic cable service, as basic subscribers switch to a pure digital service this will take care of the problem.

The other problem is the CPE (customer premise equipment) which will be or is a hybrid device capable of operating in DOCSIS 3.0 with all the bonding capabilities and also operation in OFDM/LDPC DOCSIS 3.1. 

... by focusing on getting the CPE out as soon as we can because there's backwards compatibility with DOCSIS 3.0 we'll be able to deploy these initial devices, these hybrid devices and put them into 3.0 only mode. As we free up additional bandwidth we'll be able to start swapping them over to DOCSIS 3.1 so as each chunk of bandwidth becomes available we'll then be able to have not only the 3.0 and bonding channels but will be able to add to those bonding groups the new DOCSIS 3.1 carriers as well so we're getting an even bigger performance gain.

The DOSCIS 3.x landscape looks promising and with a great future.

 

Uverse pair bonding finally arrives in our area... sort of.

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While walking our dogs we came across some very interesting developments. First, remember the following picture?

small
Click on image to enlarge.

According to the EXIF information the above picture was taken on July 18 2007 at 14:20. Five years ago we were just starting to write our blog and the condition of AT&T's copper plant in our area was terrible. Compare the above picture to the latest picture of the very same box taken just yesterday. The cover is missing, some cables going into the box appear to be cut, there are a lot of squirrels around here that might be interested in the things inside the box and there seems to be water damage to the connectors inside the box something that is very odd considering that South Texas haven't seen rainfall for a looooong time.

smallClick on image to enlarge.

From the current condition of AT&T's copper plant it is evident that it is in worse condition than it was 5 or 6 years ago. For all practical purposes the usefulness of AT&T's infrastructure is at it's lowest. Our neighbors have long abandoned ADSL (uverse as it is called today) for greener pastures mainly Time Warner Internet. The highest speed that anybody in this area can get with uverse is 3 Mbps compare it with what Time Warner's is offering us which is 50/5 Mbps. For phone service most of our neighbors already switched to Time Warner's digital phone, VoIP solutions or cellular.

As for pair bonding reaching our area it was meant as sarcasm as the following images show.

small

smallClick on images to enlarge.

As you can attest that AT&T has a very interesting way (shareholders approved ) of deploying 'pair bonding' in our area. The problem is that some AT&T employees are driving in the streets of our clean city without underwear. Ew, seriously? Dude that is so totally gross.

 
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