Why buy AT&T service via Sonic?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, IP Broadband, and Gigabit Fiber!
10 posts Page 1 of 1
by apimente1 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:30 pm
Sincere question here. What are the benefits of purchasing AT&T fiber through Sonic vs just buying directly from AT&T?
by dane » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:57 pm
apimente1 wrote:
Sincere question here. What are the benefits of purchasing AT&T fiber through Sonic vs just buying directly from AT&T?

There are a few advantages:

First, customer service. Having Sonic manage the circuit can be a much more pleasant experience than working with them directly. Local support, and support available via text, etc - it's a great team.

Second, unlimited data usage. All of Sonic's offerings have no data caps or overage charges, so that's a benefit if you do much streaming, want to back things up, use Dropbox to sync, etc.

Third, unlimited nationwide voice service, plus free calling to fixed lines in over sixty countries. And, having a fixed-line with e911 capabilities is also great - first responders know not just the address but also your unit number or floor, so they can reach you more reliably than if a call is made from a cell phone with just an approximate GPS lat/long.

Finally, buying any of Sonic's services supports our efforts to expand our own fiber network. Today nearly half of our members are served on Sonic gigabit fiber, a low-cost and high-performance product with amazing reliability. That's where we all want to end up - and being a Sonic member on any services we can offer you today makes you part of fulfilling that mission.
Dane Jasper
by Sonic Guest » Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:55 am
You may feel Dane's response as biased but I have been a Sonic customer for around a decade and the reason why I haven't jumped directly to an incumbent is for reasons 1, 2, and 4. We don't have the gigabit connection so benefit 2 from Dane's list is important.

The voice is a bonus but we really don't use voice mail and call waiting features. We do rely on caller id and these voice features are additional charges by AT&T, Comcast, etc.

Honestly though the voice infrastructure needs more work because the Accession-based Sonic Voice mobile application is not reliable. Authentication fails regularly and just shows a dialog popup without retrying. So on my phone I would not get calls in a timely manner under iOS. Under Android, there is an annoying delay of 30-60 seconds sometimes. Doesn't happen all the time but most times. While out the voice application is sometimes unusable due to network latency. But Google Voice works fine in that situation. It's possible there aren't enough points of presence with Accession. And we've had abrupt disconnects with our home ATA during the first several minutes of a call. The issue seems to have subsided for the past few months but we've experienced periods of stability followed by periods of instability, requiring frequent reboots (***999/power cycle) of the ATA. We've also received an ATA replacement in the past. The soft phone feature is really nice when it works but frustrating when it doesn't.
by claykeer4 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:44 pm
EDIT: No further response requested at this time.
I found the answers to my questions in another forum post, see here:
dane wrote:
apimente1 wrote:
Sincere question here...

First, customer service...
Second, unlimited data usage..
Third, unlimited nationwide voice service, plus free calling to fixed lines in over sixty countries...
And, having a fixed-line with e911 capabilities...

Greetings Mr. Jasper, much appreciation to you & the Sonic team over what is now many years of reliable, affordable, top-notch internet service. (Before I had this account I had another service under another account name. Moved cities, changed housemates, etc.)

I'm considering moving from "pure Sonic" copper ADSL2 @ 25 Mbits to possibly the 50 Mbits Sonic-managed Fiber service.

Can you clarify on the nature of the Layer 3+ routing policies when using Sonic-managed, AT&T-provided fiber? I.e. at the IP level does the customer's traffic go through AT&T's IP routers first, or does it go directly from the AT&T fiber straight into a Sonic-owned-and-operated IP router?
On a related note does Sonic's full network privacy policy still apply when using Sonic-over-AT&T-fiber service?

If there is already a detailed FAQ or forum thread on this feel free to just post the URL.
by Sonic Guest » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:11 am
Sonic doesn't manage their AT&T resold services. It is a business account where there are no caps and AT&T is not supposed to monitor the line. Whether if they actually do the latter would be difficult to know but you can always use Sonic's OpenVPN service to encrypt your entire residence or individual systems. Because Sonic doesn't manage the connection I hope that answers your L3 question. I presume Sonic's network privacy would not totally apply because logging and things like that might not be in line with Sonic's standards. I hope someone from Sonic could clarify. Finally you must use AT&T's residential gateways to get onto AT&T's network and there is no true bridge mode unlike with Sonic's RGs.
by PeterSheltonLaw » Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:38 pm
I am a long time Sonic customer, at home and office. Home is fiber office is bonded pair DSL installed 4 years ago.

At my commercial location, I rented an extra office to a colleague. This is an old building, three stories, in downtown Berkeley. I recommended Sonic. My colleague callsed Sonic. Sonic said they would send someone to install the fiber into the office. During two phone calls with Sonic, my colleague was assured that there was no extra charge to bring the fiber from the basement to the office.

Sonic sent ATT last week. ATT said there is a "path" problem. There is ATT fiber to the basement, but it has to get to the 2nd floor. ATT said they would report that to Sonic, and Sonic would send someone else to do that. The new guy came a week later (yesterday). He said exactly the same thing as the first guy. Now, Sonic says they will send another someone sometime soon to do the path.

My colleague and I called Sonic today, to ask that the next person come out with the ability to run the fiber from the basement to the office. A problem solver, not a problem identifier. TODAY, we were told that we have to hire an electrician at our own cost to do that.

So which is it? Does a new customer have to pay for the path from the basement to the office? Or is that covered in the fees? And why, when my colleague asked to speak to a supervisor, was he told that's not possible, but that a supervisor would call back within 24 hours.

Dane, when I started over 10 years ago, it was because you offered superior customer service and a good product. What happened?
by dane » Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:50 pm

Yes, inside wiring in business locations like this isn't something that Sonic or AT&T take on, I'm sorry to say! Generally speaking, service is delivered to a MPOE or telco closet, and tenants or building owners need to manage any wiring from that point.

This is the typical approach in business buildings for communications carriers. I'd speculate that the reason is that the in-building wiring requirements can vary, a LOT. In some locations maybe it's 50' of Ethernet cable in a drop ceiling and pretty easy, but in other spots, it'll be three stories and over 100 meters and thus require fiber and media converters due to distance. There are also challenges with older buildings and asbestos, landlord permission, access to suites and common areas along the path, "riser management" companies and fees, etc.

It is a complex a widely variable set of situations, many of which could make service delivery not viable at the base monthly service rate - so carriers don't take it on.

It's a bit like water and power: utilities bring the service to a handoff or meter location - then commercial users hire plumbers and electricians to do the in-building distribution.
Dane Jasper
by PeterSheltonLaw » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:46 am
Dane, It's beyond frustrating that my colleague was told twice by Sonic that there would be no extra charge for that.
by dane » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:38 pm
PeterSheltonLaw wrote:
Dane, It's beyond frustrating that my colleague was told twice by Sonic that there would be no extra charge for that.

I’m sorry about that confusion! Email me (dane@sonic.com) with the username and we’ll check our support records and assure we’re covering the training on this better.
Dane Jasper
by rconti » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:09 pm
I ordered ATT FTTH through Sonic because I didn't want data caps, I assume ATT gets less money from me this way, to support Sonic, and because I was told my ETF would be waived if I could get Sonic fiber while I was still subject to the ETF.

It looks like that may be irrelevant as it's coming up on 1 year and Sonic isn't here quite yet, but it sure made sense, and I would have ordered ATT through Sonic either way due to the aforementioned lack of caps.
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