AT&T prides itself on fiber Internet as a “superior” technology built for today and the future, because it provides symmetrical upload and download speeds of 1 Gbps or more.
AT&T also says that “there is no compelling evidence” of fiber roll-out in the United States, and that rural populations should be satisfied with non-fiber Internet access that offers only 10 Mbps upload speeds.
The difference between these two very different statements was the audience: AT&T’s message to investors about the future security of fiber and its superiority over cable and DSL, while AT&T discussed the gradual roll-out of fibre to connect more homes in metro areas where fiber is already available.
AT&T’s statement that Americans do not need fiber access was conveyed to the U.S. government, while the ISP lobbied against the government-subsidized construction of fiber lines that appear to be superior to DSL and wireless fixed-line Internet products that AT&T sells in areas where fiber is not cost-effective.
The claim that cable can easily match fiber is untrue.
The cable industry has boasted for years about future symmetrical upload speeds, but to date, no cable company has delivered these speeds to customers. Meanwhile, Comcast’s cable upload speeds range only from 5 Mbps to 35 Mbps, the standard for all major cable ISPs.
AT&T’s comments about rural people not needing fiber were given as President Joe Biden and Congress debated how to spend billions of dollars to subsidize broadband connections for areas with no or slow service.
Biden originally proposed $100 billion to build “future-proof” networks across the U.S., with priority access to funding “for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and co-operatives—providers with less pressure to turn profits and with a commitment to serving entire communities.”
Biden, meanwhile, agreed to $65 billion in a deal with Republicans who may not favor municipal grids as originally proposed.
Details have yet to be decided in the House and Senate, with a key question being whether the U.S. will prioritize fiber networks, which AT&T has told investors are superior to all other broadband technologies, or non-fiber networks, which AT&T claims are sufficient to lobby politicians.
For more information, read the original story in Arstechnica.