Fewer rules in the new Uverse


No regulation, no cap.

AT&T seems comfortable feeding a lot of bandwidth to its unregulated Uverse customers. Research done by Broadband DSL Reports indicates AT&T isn’t enforcing the 250 GB monthly data cap it tells Uverse customers to expect.

On the other hand, heavy users of traditional DSL service – tied to the regulated side of the business – are being throttled if they exceed monthly caps as low as 150 GB, according to the newsletter.

Broadband DSL Reports attributes AT&T’s generosity partly to higher capacity on Uverse infrastructure – there’s no point in bothering at this point – and partly to a desire to move customers off of older, regulated accounts.

AT&T is certainly pushing Uverse upgrades. I called AT&T to find out about upgrading my 6 Mbps DSL connection, which had recently gone from $48 a month to $51. The impossibly chirpy sales rep (who made a point of saying she’s in the Midwest) told me I could get 12 Mbps Uverse service for the same price, with no other fees. Except for $100 for the modem, which would be refunded to me by way of a debit card they’d mail in a month or two.

So far, so good. The self installation kit was straightforward enough. The only thing she forgot to mention was that I’d be without Internet service for several hours on switchover day. A call to a technical support supervisor – in the Philippines – got me back on line quickly enough and his Pinoy accent was, in any case, easier on my Californian ears.

Speed tests show a boost in download speeds from the 4 to 5 Mbps range with DSL to just over 10 Mbps with Uverse. Upload speeds aren’t much better though, consistently registering at less than 1 Mbps. And, it appears, I won’t have to worry about data caps. For now.

About Steve Blum

Steve Blum is president of Tellus Venture Associates, a management, planning and business development consultancy for municipal and community broadband initiatives. He is a 30-year industry veteran and an expert in developing new broadband infrastructure and services, including wireless, fiber optic and satellite systems. His career includes playing key roles in the launch and growth of DirecTv in the U.S., as well as other satellite broadcasting platforms around the world. For the past ten years, he has helped build municipal wireless and fiber optic broadband systems. His client list includes many California cities, such as San Leandro, Palo Alto, Oakland, Los Angeles, Lompoc and Folsom. He’s a member of the executive team for the Central Coast Broadband Consortium and has worked with other regional consortia in California. Steve is the author of seven books on the Internet and satellite broadcasting and is a frequent contributor to professional journals and industry events. He holds an A.B. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in East Asia Studies from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. He is a triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher, and is currently ranked in the top 100 of the Challenge Triathlon world rankings, out of more than 30,000 athletes.