I currently have Sonic FTTP Fusion and I'm considering going with the resold AT&T Fiber since I'm not sure how long it will be before Sonic's fiber is available here. I expect that the wiring for AT&T's fiber is simply a fiber entering the house, terminating at the fiber modem: can anyone confirm? Thank you!
We fired Comcast and their Xfinity gigabit-ish fake fiber thing in January, making the switch to Sonic's resold AT&T FTTH service. I would have GREATLY preferred to be on Sonic infrastructure, but they haven't rolled it out to our area yet. Quite frankly I'm utterly shocked AT&T even has though, so I won't complain. We bought a few rural acres at the top of the east bay hills in 2019. Still can't get FTTH at any of my previous urban or suburban addresses...but we can here. Go figure. Luck of the draw, I guess. I'll gladly switch to Sonic's own FTTH once their infrastructure gets out here.
So we just made the switch in January. Here's what I can tell you...
You will almost certainly get a modem/router that includes the ONT functions built into it. We were provisioned with an Arris BGW320 that includes all three capabilities.
AT&T offered no choice, by the way. The tech said no when I asked if I could pick and choose among other models, or use my own modem and ONT. It was the BGW320 or the BGW320. I was not remotely interested in trusting an AT&T-furnished modem + wireless router, in the same way I never trusted Comcast's equipment either. But Comcast at least let us use our own; AT&T will not. Using my own modem was a requirement too, but I’m not paying fees for it as Comcast always charged; it’s a decent modem; and, my real non-negotiable was the router. The router and security are all handled by my own hardware. And that all turned out not to be a non-issue -- it was absolutely effortless to change the configuration of the BGW320 to disable all wireless functions, and AT&T has no problem with that. In its place, our property is using a number of Gryphon mesh routers, and a central switch for cat6 wiring to many devices.
As for the fiber wiring itself, the tech had to take a lot longer to install than he anticipated. Most houses are pretty straightforward, but our house is down a steep 45 deg. driveway, about 800 feet from the street. So he ran the fiber line down our property by trenching the hill along our driveway. Then they ran it up a tree and across our driveway into the garage where they installed a signal conversion box. From there, they ran it into the server room above my garage where they put the gateway that connects to our switch.
From ordering-to-complete install, it took about a week and a couple of days to get the scheduling call, but they did get me into the schedule only two days after that. So all told I’d call it a week and a half. The wiring itself took about 8 hours — trenching and ordering/waiting for a truck with a lift basket to get into the trees was the vast majority of that time. But our property has some unique challenges. Their tech was extremely competent and patient and worked with me to get it done right rather than rushing a solution to keep the clock within reason. From AT&T of all companies, I was NOT expecting that. Maybe the one and only time in 30+ years of relationship with AT&T that they've surprised me.
There are two wiring things I wish were done differently, but they're really specific to our fairly unique property... The pole at the street is on the right-hand side of my gate/driveway. But if they ran the line down that side of the driveway, they’d eventually need to cross the driveway to get to the house, or run it really far around the property to come back up the other side by the house. That’s obviously not practical and I didn’t want fragile fiber optic cables running across the driveway, or easily accessible to vandals. But there wasn’t an obvious tree or other objects on that side of the driveway that they could go up to run up and over. So they ran it up a tree a dozen feet from the pole at the street, across the driveway, and then down another tree directly opposite from which they would now be on the trenchable hill. That was a perfectly fine solution for me, but the truck bucket only got them up that tree up top maybe 25 feet. I’d much rather they go up 40 or more, but I understand the constraints too. I might someday pay to have it moved farther up. The other issue was that the driveway doesn’t have a retaining wall going down from the street; only along the flat part down by the house. So they couldn’t trench right along the driveway edge. Thus the fiber line runs at various unpredictable paths along the hill where it was accessible and deep/stable enough for them to dig. It’s fine. It works. But I’ll have a hard time remembering exactly what path the fiber line meanders down the driveway if I ever do any landscaping or need to do any work there. I’ve temporarily marked the path with a bunch of Dollar Store solar lights. They also only dug down a couple of inches, which is not ideal. That was for time efficiency — they don’t have access to power trenching tools, least of all on a steep hill; just their hands and a trawl/shovel. I’m definitely okay with that; I can't reasonably ask them to go down further. So at some point I will probably hire an electrician on my own dime to pull the fiber line, put it through conduit, and bury it farther down than a couple inches. Our top soil is pretty much forest duff and soft soil, so I’m just worried about it becoming exposed at some point. Probably not likely, but better safe than sorry.
All that said, those aren’t complaints. I was thrilled to even live here in the sticks and be able to get fiber at all. And they handled everything far better than I thought they would and I got a very fair and a solid install. Never mind that installation is no cost to us. That was awesome.
Hope that helps...the bottom line is that real FTTH is just that -- it's just a fiber line running into your house, through a signal conversion box, and into the modem/gateway/ONT device. It's pretty straightforward. Some properties might have some install complexities -- apartment buildings, complex homes, rural areas like mine, etc. But generally they're not difficult, so much as just figuring out the best pathway to the house itself.