Any AT&T Fiber Insight?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
4 posts Page 1 of 1
by plwww » Wed Jan 26, 2022 4:43 am
During an AT&T repair visit this week on our antiquated DSL line, the tech gave us the same spiel they have the last couple years about how great everything would be when we get fiber, but he had no knowledge of actual plans other than "they're wanting fiber on all AT&T owned poles". He did say that both Gridley and Live Oak offices were recently upgraded to support fiber, which makes me hopeful they really are moving towards fiber in our towns; still, I find it hard to believe. While I'm sure I'd notice trucks hanging fiber if it actually starts happening, is there anything to look for to validate these claims before that? I didn't notice anything related in public planning department or city council records, but I don't know if it actually would require such permits if they're hanging on existing poles.
by macguyver » Fri Feb 11, 2022 1:56 pm
plwww, I sympathize with you on this. Firstly, AT&T techs doing a hard-sell on AT&T's own lines as a solution to all problems (even trying to sell me their 1 G fiber despite there being no fiber on the block). Secondly, having previously read through your thread on AT&T woes with Legacy DSL, I can say that I now have a much greater hands-on experience with being strung along by the AT&T infrastructure "mystery box".

We are still desperately clinging to our own Legacy DSL (6 Mbps line, 5.1 Mbps max download, 0.7 Mbps max upload) with no upgrade options in sight. I am loathe to discontinue Sonic due to their customer service, accountability and ethics. Our line has been 99.99% rock-solid with Sonic since early 2012. In December 2020 things started going south with a number of outages. One was due to AT&T "closing" our port with no explanation. Then we had a complete AT&T service failure for roughly 5 months (July 21 - Dec 8, 2021) that required us to rent service from a neighbor. Within 2 blocks is 1 G fiber that was installed years ago. There has been no movement since that time.

(NOTE: During the long outage mentioned above, Sonic CS was responsive and did their best to help, but I did hear "Legacy DSL will end soon" a number of times. Sonic also suggested looking for alternate internet service to resolve our outage, even though that would be with a competitor.)

The areas around us that have 1 G fiber cannot initiate service with Sonic. We are one of the towns that has some kind of AT&T agreement with the county that excludes competitors using their lines. Only grandfathered accounts such as ours are allowed to continue ... for now. I believe Fremont and Pacifica are among the cities that cannot have new Sonic service at this time. When I talked with my city's IT manager, they did not have knowledge of why this was, just that it was handled by the county or higher up the chain.

AT&T Fiber is very random from my perspective (and that of various AT&T employees whom I have spoken to candidly and off-the-record over the years, including those who work with the high-end fiber lines, not just those you see draped across your street poles). AT&T will rush out fiber lines in some areas and streets, then suddenly stop with no explanation, often leaving one house with 1 G fiber, next to a house that can barely get 1.5 Mbps Legacy DSL.

I guess the bottom line is, you will know when AT&T starts marketing to you about upgrading. And even then, if Sonic does not already have the ability to offer service in that location, you will have to make a decision.

PS. A family member with U-Verse for phone, internet and TV had their phone go out and AT&T tried to convince them that upgrading to their new Fiber would "fix" the issue. The resolution required my intervention and insistence on toggling of various account settings on AT&T's side to get it working again (account re-initialization, then forwarding of the phone, then un-forwarding to restore dial-tone). No one can explain how/why it happened.
by plwww » Fri Feb 11, 2022 11:53 pm
Wow, five months with no service? That's incredible. We've been dealing with this off and on for a year and a half, but at least ours was partially functional most of the time(sometimes too unstable to watch a video, but can still get basic access). Like you, we've been told a couple times now by Sonic that we might want to consider alternatives...unfortunately there are no wireline alternatives and the only fixed-wireless provider here isn't practical(expensive per month, high overages, high startup costs). Our line has actually been quite stable since this last repair, but we're still not getting any action towards putting our speeds back to where they should be. The talk that our central offices' were upgraded for fiber is the first time AT&T has offered any concrete suggestion that something might be coming, probably still years off if true but it does bring hope.
by macguyver » Sat Feb 12, 2022 3:52 pm
I do want to say how diligent the Sonic support team was during this run. Even those who did not have extensive training with Legacy DSL would patiently try to find a resolution or help run tests. I still feel bad about one Sonic agent who took my call 5 minutes before their shift ended and ended up on the phone for quite a while before I discovered they should have gone home. Also, to be clear, I insisted on keeping this line active/paid so I would not lose the ability to have Sonic service at this location.

Perhaps some calls might have been shorter if everyone at Sonic had the full ILEC training or more experience with Legacy DSL systems. However, this does not change the fact that AT&T has taken away their access to various tools while giving mixed information and pursuing the corporate agenda of terminating copper wire infrastructure during a worldwide pandemic. I saw clients, friends and family going through life and death traumas and then have AT&T, Comcast and other big corporations terminate their internet if they missed 2 payments in a row, just like they did before Covid. Yes, you can get restored, but it takes time and extra fees.

Our line was essentially unusable for most of that 5 months except for 2-3 weeks in August. During that time in Aug, the line was a bit unstable but functional. Ping jumped from around 19 or less to 45-55 and the upstream was frequently much lower than it should be. On Aug. 24 it dropped off a cliff again.

Sometime in September, Sonic was informed by AT&T that our line problems were part of a larger equipment issue that they could not resolve until replacements were found, or something to that effect. I stopped pestering Sonic and would only check for status updates every few weeks. Sonic did not get an "issue resolved" response from AT&T until early December 2021. We still needed a technician visit after that to resolve some things.

I guess this is the modern technology society we live in where AT&T just doesn't have the resources to fix their equipment for months on end. It is also clear that AT&T corporate is pushing out CLECs and other parties as quickly as they can despite these lines being the only options for many people in the U.S. and sometimes essential for emergency services. Reminds me of the rush to terminate 3G wireless.

Sorry if I am derailing your original topic. 8-)
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