AT&T optical fiber upgrade

Hello BPN community -

This is hardly an earthshaking problem, but surely someone has more information than I do, on this subject.

For many moons, our ISP, AT&T, has been pushing very hard to get us to upgrade to their fiber network.

I am not a complete Luddite, but have ignored their text messages, emails, paper letters, Internet ads for the following reasons:

1. Every time a tech company forces an upgrade, it breaks something. (I still regret trading my rotary-dial landline for DSL; the former worked during a four-day PG&E outage, the latter doesn't).

2. Is this not a stealth introduction to 5G, which will plunge us into a totalitarian surveillance society, perhaps irradiating us all in the process?

My only concern is that the way tech companies coerce customers is to make the existing service work so slowly and poorly that one is forced to buy a new expensive gadget that is compatible with the new system.

Luddite principles or parental sanity factor?  Thanks for any insights.

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RE: AT&T optical fiber upgrade ()

Well, on the 5G front, it won't make much difference--if you live in Oakland or Berkeley, 5G infrastructure is already here whether your particular household is paying for it or not. So I wouldn't spend too much energy on that one. As far as the service itself, I think it really comes down to how fast you want your internet and how much you want to pay. We just upgraded to Sonic fiber from their broadband service (which is actually AT&T's, rebranded--the new fiber is Sonic's own infrastructure, which I appreciate). If you do consider fiber, definitely think about Sonic over AT&T to support a local company with (IMO) better customer service. The upgrade went smoothly and nothing broke. It is the case that, like broadband, fiber uses voice-over-IP for phone service instead of an actual land line, and like you, I don't love that. You can buy a land line on its own directly from AT&T if desired, though--we just decided it wasn't worth the additional cost. Oddly, the fiber internet service is actually cheaper than the old broadband was, though I imagine eventually the price will increase. It is a noticeably faster connection, though, which is helpful if you have to work from home at times (Zoom is so much better!)

RE: AT&T optical fiber upgrade ()

I don’t think you are thinking about it quite the right way. It isn’t tech companies slowing everything down rather the data intensity of th internet continues to increase (thinking is streaming video vs simple text web sites we used to have). Your dial up connection wouldn’t work at all today! They can’t offer a new service until they have already laid the new fiber in the ground. Once they do that, they try to get you to buy it as they have already built it. Fiber is a big upgrade from dsl. If it is in your budget do it. I think you will have fewer problems than with dsl.

RE: AT&T optical fiber upgrade ()

I will concur that my past DSL experience has been less reliable and prone to weather issues similar to you. However, I've had AT&T fiber for a year now and it's solid, it's never gone down and experience is exponentially better than DSL. If fiber is available to your house, and you can afford the higher fee, then I recommend everyone upgrading over DSL. As for your other thoughts around surveillance, etc.., I don't think the connection to the internet is the issue to be concerned about. All the things happening on the internet is another matter if you're a parent but since you already have DSL, I don't think there's any additional barrier you're crossing with just changing the connection path.

RE: AT&T optical fiber upgrade ()

I can't speak to your specific situation, but when I moved to Berkeley my street had fiber and the one above did not. We went ahead and got set up for fiber, and our internet is very fast. I remote into a work computer that can be really slow depending on home internet, but I have had no trouble with lag and my IT people attribute it to my fiber optic internet connection. We've had it for 6 years, so I can't attest to whether 5G will be related to it or not.

RE: AT&T optical fiber upgrade ()

Fiber is great, but I would recommend switching from AT&T to Sonic - not sure what rate they offer today but we got $40/month, and I switched away from XFinity after hearing good reviews from my neighbors (in Grand Lake). Sonic also doesn't spam me.

I would argue that, rather than the ISPs making your service slower, websites are loaded with more and heavier features/data since they expect, on average, customers are getting more bandwidth with faster and faster internet service.

5G is wireless and is already getting rolled out regardless of what you service you sign up for in your own home. Last I checked most of my family and friends have not been microwaved past medium rare, so we're probably ok.

RE: AT&T optical fiber upgrade ()

I switched from Comcast to Sonic AND ended my decades-long relationship with an AT&T landline which I had been keeping for earthquakes/power outages. 
(I have internet only; no cable tv)   I also purchased a UPS that my Sonic (main device and closest mesh component) plugs into. 
So I had internet during a local hour-long power outage a few weeks ago. My UPS is big enough to run the Sonic plus I can charge phones and devices. I could also plug the fridge in for a while, with a more serious outage. I sized the UPS for a 4-day power outage to keep internet on, charge devices , maybe a light or two and a few hours a day of refrigerator. I’m happy with this solution. The UPS is about the size of my microwave oven which is kind of an eyesore in my living room. But I’m working on that. Good Luck.