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Increased Bandwidth Irrelevant?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the fat-pipes-are-still-cool dept.


halbert writes "ArsTechnica has a story about AT&T COO Randall Stephenson telling folks that there is 'no discernable difference' between AT&T's 1.5 Mbps service and Comcast's 6 Mbps, because the backbone is slowing everything down. The main argument from the article is that fiber to the home is not necessary. How about letting the consumer decide that?" From the article: "This is a direct response to the criticism that AT&T has suffered for deploying a fiber optic network that reaches only to the local node, not directly into a customer's home--which means that the 'last mile' connection is still copper wire. Verizon, by contrast, is deploying fiber directly into the home, making for much higher speeds. AT&T argues that its model is cheaper, faster to deploy, and just as capable as Verizon's, which currently uses much of its massive bandwidth to distribute RF TV channels."

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Vested interests... (4, Informative)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036593)

So, the COO of company A who provide a worse service than company B says that there's no service-level difference in practice. Well, he *would*, wouldn't he ? It's always worth remembering the wisdom of ages... "cui bono"

IMHO (and it's only a single datapoint) it's certainly worth it for me... I have servers located in the UK on a 100mbit link, and at least 80% of the time I can download at ~500 kBytes/sec (sometimes more) from there to San Jose (CA). Since I transfer large numbers of multi-megapixel images, it's important to me that I have a fast link.

So, basically, picture me blowing a loud raspberry at Mr. Stephenson, thumb on the end of my nose, and waggling my fingers at him. I'll take the Comcast service, thanks.

Oh, BTW, you can get HDTV down the same wire too :-)


Re:Vested interests... (5, Interesting)

spxero (782496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036747)

I think you're absolutely right on. Of course he would say there isn't any difference. To the average non-techie internet user, there isn't any difference when going to google and searching. But to the person running multiple torrents on one machine, MMORPG's on another computer, and browsing the internet on a third (more than one person, but only one connection) there is a HUGE difference between 1.5Mbps and 6Mbps.

I had two 1.5Mbps DSL lines back at my parent's house(they work for ATT) and the connections were fine. But I couldn't connect too many computers to one connection and run anything more than one or two torrents without bottlenecking the connection. And the ping times were around an average of 100-200ms. Now I'm on a 4Mbit connection with ping times around 50-100ms while running a few torrents.

You can't blame the guy for trying to help his cause, but you most certainly can blame him for being blind about the facts. Sure, I know they're putting fiber down in Southern California with ~30Mbit connections (I have no idea of the cost). But until that happens in my area, I'll stick with my 4Mbps connection (yes, it's not as good as some, but fast enough right now).

nonsense.. (5, Funny)

ShaniaTwain (197446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036833)

What possible reason could he have for downplaying a competitors speed advantage?

Along the same lines:

a '86 dodge omni is just as good as a brand new ferrari
rubbing alchohol is just as good as a bottle of wine
pressing hard on your eyeballs is just as good as going out to a movie

Just think of how much money you can save with this line of reasoning!
..good luck getting dates though.

FIRST FISH! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036596)


have comcast (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036598)

and I sometimes get 3 - 4 Mbit / sec on sustained downloads. end of argument. AT&T, fix your slow shit.

Re:have comcast (4, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036625)

Besides, there are other uses for that bandwidth. For example, a friend of mine has experimental "everything over IP" - TV, phone, etc. The TV services aren't going through the larger internet backbone, but are provided directly by his ISP. In that case, a fat pipe, even with a weak backbone, still is very useful.

Re:have comcast (1)

mOOzilla (962027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036800)

Sex over IP?

Re:have comcast (1, Funny)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036867)

We already have that. ;) (bash#104383 [] )
bloodninja: Baby, I been havin a tough night so treat me nice aight?
BritneySpears14: Aight.
bloodninja: Slip out of those pants baby, yeah.
BritneySpears14: I slip out of my pants, just for you, bloodninja.
bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: Oh, I like to play dress up.
bloodninja: Me too baby.
BritneySpears14: I kiss you softly on your chest.
bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.
BritneySpears14: Hey...
bloodninja: I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 chicken of the Infinite.
BritneySpears14: Funny I still don't see it.
bloodninja: I spend my mana reserves to cast Mighty F*ck of the Beyondness.
BritneySpears14: You are the worst cyber partner ever. This is ridiculous.
bloodninja: Don't f*ck with me bitch, I'm the mightiest sorcerer of the lands.
bloodninja: I steal yo soul and cast Lightning Lvl. 1,000,000 Your body explodes into a fine bloody mist, because you are only a Lvl. 2 Druid.
BritneySpears14: Don't ever message me again you piece of ****.
bloodninja: Robots are trying to drill my brain but my lightning shield inflicts DOA attack, leaving the robots as flaming piles of metal.
bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik's evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.
bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it's getting hard now.
bloodninja: Baby?
BritneySpears14: Ok, are you ready?
eminemBNJA: Aight, yeah I'm ready.
BritneySpears14: I like your music Em... Tee hee.
eminemBNJA: huh huh, yeah, I make it for the ladies.
BritneySpears14: Mmm, we like it a lot. Let me show you.
BritneySpears14: I take off your pants, slowly, and massage your muscular physique.
eminemBNJA: Oh I like that Baby. I put on my robe and wizard hat.
BritneySpears14: What the f*ck, I told you not to message me again.
eminemBNJA: Oh ****
BritneySpears14: I swear if you do it one more time I'm gonna report your ISP and say you were sending me kiddie porn you f*ck up.
eminemBNJA: Oh ****
eminemBNJA: damn I gotta write down your names or something

Re:have comcast (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036945)

A good point. More and more services will be local I think. It's just more effecient than piping everything from a long distance. Take something like bit torrent. If it can pick out other nodes to share with that are within the faster local network then downloads could be considerably faster.

Of course I'm still wanting gigabit speeds to my home and businesses and a backbone that can equal it. :)

Re:have comcast (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036675)

AT&T, fix your slow shit

This [] might help.

Re:have comcast (1)

firl (907479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036780)

I am registered for 4 megs, I download consistantly at 7 megs, and have mostly have to thank my openbsd router for doing a beautiful job of serving.

I have comcast, ya my 4 meg connection is better than my 9600 baud that I started on. But with all of our monopolies in place where can we really get good service? look at other countries that have much better internet speeds, God bless america ..

I am looking forward to optic in my home, will be a while before I can do it because I live in a historic building where you can't drill or anything, my cable service currently comes through a kawked window.

- Firl

Re:have comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036901)

"kawked"? huh? Surely you mean "caulked", correct?

Heck, there's no discernable difference between... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036600)

...single-channel ISDN and 6Mbps cable except for the discernable slowness.

My neighbors have DSL and I have comcast (2, Funny)

DrRobert (179090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036603)

And I can tell a HUGE difference in the performance of the connection during normal browsing activities. When downloading a new distribution or flac files their DSL connections seem unusable to me.

Re:My neighbors have DSL and I have comcast (1)

Yocto Yotta (840665) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036739)

Yeah, I think any sane person would have to agree with that. I have Comcast's 8Mb service out in Lynnwood, WA north of Seattle, and I think the 1000KBps (+/- 150KBps) I'm pulling off of Usenet (all Linux distros, I swear!) would harshly disagree with AT&T's comparison.

Re:My neighbors have DSL and I have comcast (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036844)

Too bad comcast cuts you off after 800MB of usenet in a month. Nothing like hitting your cap in under 10 Minutes.

Re:My neighbors have DSL and I have comcast (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036908)

Is that you McBride? Are you stealing wi fi?

Re:My neighbors have DSL and I have comcast (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036914)

Fuck cable..... I do not need that kind of responsivness for 2 times the price

Tell that to my Familly (0, Offtopic)

Akoma The Immortal (36474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036606)

Yes I have a 10Mbs/900Ks from a cable company in canada. And all my familly is converting to cable.

Because the bandwidth is king! Repeat after me: The bandwidth is King!!!

Did I have first post?


Re:Tell that to my Familly (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036694)

Did I have first post?

No. Apparently your cable speed is too slow.

Re:Tell that to my Familly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036735)

Yes I have a 10Mbs/900Ks from a cable company in canada.

Which one?

Simply not true. (1, Insightful)

bchernicoff (788760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036613)

I maxed my 5Mbps Cox cable modem connection the other day downloading some Linux iso's...

Re:Simply not true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036849)

I did the same with my RoadRunner cable connection last night, downloading Fedora iso's from Redhat's own servers (I think). Too bad two of the four .iso's were corrupt after completing the download with no hint of problems (using FireFox 1.5).

Subsequent re-downloads worked fine and I still have no idea where the transfer fell over.

Re:Simply not true. (1)

mogwai7 (704419) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036920)

Use Bit Torrent next time and you don't have to worry about corrupted downloads. BT checks the crc of the file chunks as they donwnload. AFAIK all distros have torrents of their isos.

Deciding is hard! (5, Funny)

feepness (543479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036619)

The main argument from the article is that fiber to the home is not necessary. How about letting the consumer decide that?

I'm sorry. I'm incapable of making important personal decisions.

Isn't there a government agency that could decide for everybody at once, including me?

Next you'll be asking me to choose a health-care provider!

I can see the difference. (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036621)

I Don't know about Comcast, but with TimeWarner at 5mbs I tend to get the full speed or at least close to it. And it is defiantly faster then 1.5mbs. Especially using Bittorrent for large Linux ISOs, I can get up to 600 KiloBytes Per second which is 4.8mbs. I think it is AT&T just trying to Scam Us, and stop using faster Internet in which VoIP is clearer.

Re:I can see the difference. (1)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036743)

You can get the full speed but you are not likely to get it from a single connection. I can saturate my Time Warner 5Mbps connection with stuff like bittorrent or multiple connections to a news server, but it is rare that a single say http download will hit over 300KBs.
The great thing is that 5Mbps gives you the elbow room to have multiple computers downloading, playing online games and web surfing at the same time.

Re:I can see the difference. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036798)

300KBS is 2.3mbs connection and it is still faster then AT&T.

I have (Cable & DSL) and there is a difference (1)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036789)

I have both ATT/SBC DSL and Comcast HSI at my home. Comcast runs at a constant 3-4 Mbps (advertised 6 Mbps). DSL is a steady 1.5 Mbps.

I can tell you from experience that Comcast is a lot faster. It's not the backbone that is the problem--it is the end mile from the local ISP to me. Whenever there is a problem it is 99.999% the problem of the last ISP to me.

The guy is just spinning because they want to save money right now. They figure (and probably rightly so) that they can deliver faster service by not going the last distance to the premises and save money. Later they can finish it off when they need more bandwidth, which will probably cost less since the technology will go down in price. They are probably doing this because they don't yet have the content to use all the bandwidth for pure fiber to the house, so why put it in?

Faster to deploy? (5, Interesting)

JoeWalsh (32530) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036624)

AT&T's method is faster to deploy?

I live in a development constructed in 1999.

When I moved in, there was no consumer-level high-speed Internet access offered in the neighborhood.

Now, in 2006, Comcast has fiber to each and every home.

AT&T? "Sorry, DSL isn't offered in your area."

Faster to deploy? Right.

Re:Faster to deploy? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036846)

I guess it depends where you are. My subdivision was constructed in 2002 and is just now wrapping up construction on the crap lots that the developer pawned off on other people. We've always had DSL as an option. I have yet to see a cable guy around these parts though. We can't even get cable TV right now but Alltel (not AT&T) is right there with DSL for us.

Re:Faster to deploy? (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036883)

That such a stupid and mindless argument was modded up is ridiculous.

The implication that every english speaker except the OP understands is, "AT&T's model is faster to deploy [once you start deploying it]."

More bandwidth means (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036627)

they can charge more when they roll out the tiered internet, right? :ugh:

Re:More bandwidth means (1)

pezpunk (205653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036703)

yeah i was thrilled to find out my new homeowner's association pays for "cable internet" through our homeowner's fees ... until i found out that it was artificially limited to 256 kbps unless you paid extra! that's worse than doing nothing for us.

Re:More bandwidth means (1)

chepner (146799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036893)

yeah i was thrilled to find out my new homeowner's association pays for "cable internet" through our homeowner's fees ... until i found out that it was artificially limited to 256 kbps unless you paid extra! that's worse than doing nothing for us.
You have a strange definition of "worse". I'm sure there are plenty of people for whom any type of free access is acceptable. Besides, how much is "extra"? Is it still less than having to buy it all yourself?

RF over Fibre? (1, Redundant)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036628)

I figured the summary was screwed up, but the article isn't any clearer about how one uses fibre to carry an RF signal.


Re:RF over Fibre? (1)

bsd4me (759597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036776)

You can do analog optical communications at RF frequencies. It has several advantages, but can be cost prohibitive. Google should dig something up.

Re:RF over Fibre? (1)

ran-o-matic (667054) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036894)

Verizon reserved a pile of bandwidth on the fiber system (FIOS) to deliver video. "RF TV" is just a poor phrase choice.

the difference comes when (3, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036640)

... the backbone is not the bottleneck. What if I want to serve up home videos of my kids to their grandparents? I can serve up more than 1.5mbps, my parents can consume it, and there aren't any heavily contested resources between us. As more and more people catch on to the fun factor of serving up their own content, and as tools to make that easy become more widely available, the demand for high bandwidth connections is going to go through the roof.

I have Verizon FIOS (4, Informative)

MikeDataLink (536925) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036644)

I have the 15Mb/s down 2Mb/s up package and it is fast as hell!!!! I routinely get 14.6Mb/s downstream when downloading from fast sites (like I'd say their backbone is working just fine.

Re:I have Verizon FIOS (1)

dcowart (13321) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036740)

Of course the question is, Can I get it? /HighSpeedInternetForHome.asp []
I'm not in their database (and I don't have verizon phone number) so no high-speed access for me. :-(

Re:I have Verizon FIOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036877)

try /root/address_entry.asp [] ?
there is a link right there for verification by address if you haven't notice. if you did and still did not qualify, it's a unfortunite i guess then.

Re:I have Verizon FIOS (4, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036831)


Oh behalf of Slashdot, I have one thing to say. I HATE YOU!

Ya, I'm jelous.

Planning ahead? (5, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036661)

If the backbone is too busy to provide the ultra-high speed service today, what about the future, when it's capable of handling more data at higher speeds?

At that point, people who already have the high-speed "last mile" connection can make full use of the new capabilities, while those who have the slower connection will have to lay new wiring.

So fix it? (4, Informative)

Tadrith (557354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036666)

Hey, so maybe you should... oh, I don't know... fix your backbones?

I've got 6Mb DSL from Speakeasy, and I'm pretty certain there's a huge difference between 1.5Mb and 6Mb. Apparently the backbone isn't a problem for Speakeasy, either, since I regularly get between 500 and 700K/s download speeds. (That's bytes, not bits.)

Sounds to me like AT&T is doing what they do best... absolutely nothing, while they sit on their ass.

my two cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036674)

I don't care if the pipe beyond my neighbourhood can't handle the extra bandwidth. If the last mile was rediculously fast we might see a serious change in what people are able to do with their PCs.

OK, so I can't download ISOs at 1GB/s, but I have speeds faster than most LANs between myself and other locals. This opens the door to all sorts of file sharing applications. Of course, the ISPs have NO interest in doing this, as they would rather install a fat pipe, tell you it's a skinny pipe, then sell you cable and voice service over said pipe..

If it were up to the consumers, we'd just take the fat pipe and use it among ourselves. Which totally fucks up the existing content distribution channels. Which means it won't happen.

Re:my two cents (1)

jaredmauch (633928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036909)

> OK, so I can't download ISOs at 1GB/s 1GB* 8 bits = 8Gb/s I kinda doubt you have 10GE at your home, but I could be wrong, last I checked the cards for it were still $3k each ;) Ameritech^WSBC^WAT&T are working on their "fiber to the node" project, but this basically provides the ability for them to dump IPTV and other things over their existing infrastructure. Most people who have run/worked at an isp that does DSL knows that it's basically ATM (not the type you get money from, even if you're an ISP) at the endpoint with lots of VC (virtual circuits) that end up being terminated on your device. Depending on where the DSLAM is, and if you have control over it, you can provide some measure of QoS (quality of service) over your network to insure things like VoIP and your video get dedicated bandwidth (eg: a 1Mb VC [internet] plus a 15Mb VC [video]) allows a lot of room for fun. The challenge is it costs lots of money for a large company to do any of these delopyments. It costs comcast a lot of money to trench every linear foot because they want things in conduit where it's harder to dig it up. Putting it on a pole has a cost as well, they have to lease the pole space from the pole owner. (In some cases, you as an individual or business can purchase pole space). Even if the fiber is only a penny a foot, someone wants to be paid $25-50/hr+(include the employer side of taxes, any 401k match, pension, health care, etc..) to do the work. It costs money to do this as a business. Then again if you have a market cap of a few billion and lots of rights of way and other things, it kinda makes sense to start tossing that fiber in the ground and getting places quickly. Comcast and ATT should start delivering their television service to anyone over their existing IP/Internet that wants it. if i have a T1 at home, that's enough to get a mpeg stream down for a channel. it's a way to decouple the connection to the home from the services that can be offered over it. As for the providers, time to keep upgrading those edge networks (always the slowest and most painful part to deal with) and push the higher bandwidth services out. If I can get 1MB/s (8Mb/s) in my hotel room while i'm in Tokyo over their VDSL setup, there's no reason I can't get 1Mbit here where my house is. I'd rather ditch my ISDN that i'm using (yes, i really do have and use ISDN here in Michigan Bell^W^WAT&T land). it's the new world, AT&T Disconnected.

Not Yet (3, Insightful)

spazoidspam (708589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036677)

Of course the difference is not very big right now, at least not to average Joe. Developers gear content towards what most of their customers will be able to use, if most people have a 1mbit connection, then it makes no sense to develop sites that require a 6mbit connection to look decent. Once more people have faster connections, developers can make their sites even more media-rich. Verizon appears to be planning for the future, while AT&T can only see whats going on right now.

Upload (3, Insightful)

Ark42 (522144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036681)

There IS, however, a noticable difference between the 2Mbps upstream on FIOS, the 768Kbps upstream on (my) DSL, and the 256Kbps upstream on cable around here. At least, for anybody who has ever tried to email a digital camera picture to a friend, etc.

Makes a diff for P2P downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036689)

Single old non-clustered downloads - no diff. Multiple downloads, P2P, Multiple apps - big difference.

How many active internet devices are in your home? Counting your console? How about VoIP phones? Kid's computers?

And then there's the upload bandwidth. More bandwidth = more upsteam bandwidth too, which *will* improve P2P swarms in a nice feedback loop.

I find cable is too fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036693)

But then I'm a turtle named Slowsky.

Not everything travels through the backbone (4, Insightful)

radical_dementia (922403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036701)

AT&Ts arguement is that it doesn't matter how fast your connection is, once your packets travel through the internet backbone, they're gonna get slowed down anyway. This has 2 major flaws:

1. Many many connections do not travel through the backbone. sure a connection from NY to LA will, but probably not from your house to your neighbors. AT&T only seems to be thinking about IPTV, but people are going to want fast connections for many other uses.

2. Eventually the backbone will be faster, and AT&T customers will be stuck with the slower connection.

is this part of (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036704)

Is this part of the billboard campaign I've begun seeing by the telco's saying how they were innovating fine before government regulation? Seems to me that they *only* seem to improve service either when told to by the government or when they receive nice fat government subsidies to improve their infrastructure.

Connection not so important (4, Interesting)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036711)

I tend to agree with TFA. I used to work at a UUNET datacenter, and my desktop PC was literally two hops away from multiple OC48 connections. (My computer -> wiring closet switch -> department router -> ATM switch -> UUNET backbone.) Truthfully, the experience was not much different that browsing on my cable modem at home. Sure, if I wanted to download something from the university in my city (which was on the same sonnet ring) it was fast as hell, but other than that, it wasn't really that much different. Where you get an advantage with huge bandwidth like that is in aggregate connections. There were tens of thousands of servers and multiple circuits terminating in that building, and hardly any latency at all on anything. But for an individual user... not much difference.

Re:Connection not so important (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036962)

Was this pre or post bit torrent?

I used to have a co-located server hanging off of a 10MBPS link to an OC-12. Most sites were throttled or slower than my link. I was extremely pleased the day I hit 900KBps download speed.

But with Bit Torrent I wouldn't need a single download location with a fat pipe. I could suck 40KBps from 200 different people with ease.

Re:Connection not so important (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036971)

Can you install OpenVPN and Quagga for me on that box, and hook me up....? :)

The backbone can be mitigated (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036713)

If you have a fast connection to your ISP, but a slow upstream it's still very usefull.

The ISP can mirror a lot of content on local servers from which you can download at full speed.
Peer-to-peer traffic between users on the same isp will work better, if your using bittorrent once one user of your isp becomes a seed your sorted and the strain on the backbone will decrease significantly.
The ISP can proxy http traffic, so that static things like the icons on slashdot only need to travel down the backbone once for thousands of users.

Utterly not true. (0, Redundant)

jpmattia (793266) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036714)

Utterly not true. We have plenty of measurements from video customers showing that the difference is huge.

Wha'dya expect from a publication named after the Arse?

45.2 Kbps (2, Funny)

rippofrank (936044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036715)

Damn you and your high-speed, all I get is 45.2 Kbps. :-(

Re:45.2 Kbps (1)

Nivex (20616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036976)

Lucky you! My parents get 26400bps... 28800 on a good day.
Anything to improve last mile bandwidth to people who don't happen to live right in a city (or even small town) would be really helpful.

Differential Loss of Pissing Off Geeks (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036718)

I'm wondering if there is any downside to this for the company that just said bandwidth to home doesn't matter.

They just pissed off every geek by saying bandwidth doesn't matter.
The average schmuck doesn't care or understand.

So all they did was piss off all the geeks. I'm thinking that can't be good.

Re:Differential Loss of Pissing Off Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036896)

Randall Stephenson will wake up next to a headless server one day.

How about comparing with elsewhere? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036723)

Ummm, just a thought, but in France we get 20Mbps adsl2+ that really is 20Mbps (well, when your phone line is good enough to get that high a rate), or at least most of the clients get a good 10Mbps, and get a stable download rate that's consistant with their synchronisation speed.
We have IPTV too. And the fiber only goes to the local node, not to the home. And you're talking about FTTH doing only 6Mbps? Did I read that wrong or are you really talking about a technology that is being used waaay below its real potential? AT&T's offer ought to be way above what it is, way above comcast's actual offer of 6Mbps (which should be at 100Mbps).

I'm afraid I still haven't gotten used to the turnaround with internet speed. We're all so used to looking at american connections and drooling it seems odd to hear you talking about connections we had a few years back...

Re:How about comparing with elsewhere? (1)

squison (546401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036832)

Comcast is cable modem. FTTH he's talking about is via Verizon. Speeds there range from 5/2 to 30/5mbps [] .

Re:How about comparing with elsewhere? (1)

Griffinart (957548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036953)

Yep, Lots of the Broadband speeds we get in the US are capped by the providers. Comcast, for example, currently caps for me at 8Mbps but in towns where they compete with Verison's fiber service they are boosting the cap to 15.

Re:How about comparing with elsewhere? (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036936)

There are two factors which keep good connections from getting to people here in the US.
1) Monopolies get away with a bunch. This one is obvious, and the success of the EU over Microsoft (in opposition to the DOJ) shows it pretty well.
2) Most of the country is not near a urban area. Running a fiber optic cable for 50 miles is significantly more difficult than 5 miles.

The US has had some of the worst telephone service in the world for quite some time now, and most of the problem is just regulatory.

Well... (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036728)

Given a 3 GB movie, a consumer will download it all regardless of delivery speed. AT&T's model is that it is cheaper to sustain a very long connection with limited speed; Verizon's view is that the faster that connection is done, the better, and the more (burstable!) bandwidth for everyone.

AT&T's network also scales badly. When the entertainment industry begins to transition to secured P2P for transmission, Verizon's network will perform beautifully. If your neighbor is downloading the same movie as you, your effective speed from the distributor can double since you have a direct connection (practically) with your neighbor. The shared data never has to leave your neighborhood (it should get relayed at the first available router, e.g., within the local fibre system).

AT&T's system has to sustain two connections over a much longer period of time.

My apartment complex is slated to be one of the first bigger complexes to be fitted for FIOS this summer (Tampa, FL). From the info we've received from Verizon, it looks amazing.

Re:Well... (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036926)

From the info we've received from Verizon, it looks amazing.

Really? The vendor says their product is amazing? No shit!

I was able to discern the difference (1)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036746)

I may only be a single consumer, and thus I am statistically insignificant, but I had the 4.0mb comcast cable until about November of 2005. I was getting download speeds of 3700Kbps or so to match, I was very pleased with the speed. Upload speeds left a lot to be desired, the most I saw was around 90kbps.

Now I am on Verizon DSL. I get 40kbps....DOWNLOAD. Sometimes as high as 100. Forget uploads, I can't serve anything.

As for discernable difference, I just discerned it. DSL 1.5MB is A). not 1.5MB and B). the limiting factor. Don't blame it on the backbone, you're slow!

Re:I was able to discern the difference (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036967)

If you're getting 5 kB/s (yes, that's what you said) on DSL you obviously have a problem and need to have your line and/or modem checked out. I'm not sure if you know what you're talking about.

What about HDTV over IP? (2, Insightful)

Qwijib0 (628639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036749)

Show me HDTV over IP that's at 1.5 mbps and I'll show you crappy HDTV. If AT&T thinks they can compete in the IPTV market at 1.5 or even 6 mbps, they're mistaken.

It's About Throughput (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036753)

So I guess all those downloads where I routinely get 700kBytes/sec throughput on Comcast's service are a figment of my imagination?

Re:It's About Throughput (1)

Procyon101 (61366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036906)

700 would be high for me on Comcast here in downtown Seattle. Routinely 500K.

BS Alert!!! (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036755)

I guess the COO has never tried downloading a DVD-sized ISO of a Linux distribution.

Cablevision if doing a brisk business with it's new premium Boost service (2 Mbps up, 25 Mbps down) so somebody must feel the need for speed.

I wonder if anyone would notice the difference between 1.5 Mbps and 25 Mbps?

Round round get around... (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036757)

Thats some real spin there.

I can say for certainly that with a 15mbit FIOS connection, you absolutely see a difference in everything. Downloads are consistently over a megabyte per second, often pushing 1.5-1.6. Downloading demos from XBox Live takes five or six minutes for 500-600 meg. Bittorrents scream, even normal web access cranks.

Let the customers decide what they *want* (4, Interesting)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036762)

What a load of crap. I've had 10Mb full duplex for the last few months, and sure - I was quite happy with that. Do I really need more? No. Last week my ISP without any warning or notification decided to raise it to 100Mb. I'm not downloading (and seeding...) at around 9-11MB (yes, 11 MegaByte) per second. Do I need it? No. Do I want to go back to 10MB? No.

Also: "because the backbone is slowing everything down". Well, if the 6Mb is 6Mb only in theory, then it's not 6Mb, and the customers shouldn't pay for 6Mb. I understand that the situation is a bit different in the US than here (Sweden), but still - that sucks and is not acceptable.

I think that mayb there's something to this... (1)

irimi_00 (962766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036778)

Didn't they say no one could ever need any more than like 256kb of memory? No one can dispute that can they?

they need some.. (0)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036787)

Warez [] ...

One at a time.. (3, Interesting)

squison (546401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036796)

"we're not constrained by bandwidth. You're not constrained by the size of the pipe anymore," Stephenson said, referring to the switched-video capacity of the network which delivers only one service to a single customer at a time."

So, he expects every home in America to have only 1 TV hooked to his TV network, and while that TV is on, nobody is using any computers in their house. It's this ignorant management and lack of innovation that makes most current telcos a dying breed. At least Verizon is taking a step forward with Fios and IPTV.

Can 1 HD channel even fit through a 15mbps pipe?

Re:One at a time.. (4, Informative)

MonMotha (514624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036968)

ATSC channels (USA over-the-air digital broadcast) have a total data rate of a little over 19.5Mbit/sec. Using MPEG2 video compression (see below), most stations fit a main HD feed (their network feed) at either 720p or 1080i and a standard def subchannel at usually 480i, maybe 480p if you're lucky, into that channel.

However, using h.264, HD 720p video can be run at rates as low as 4Mbit without significant artifacting, mostly due to h.264's incredible behavior when presented with resolution bumps. SD channels can be run as low as 384kbit (yes, you read that right...) at acceptable quality. However, set-tops capable of decoding HD h.264 are currently expensive and not widely deployed, and currently employed digital cable and broadcast standards in the USA call for MPEG2, so this is not likely to be used when compatibility with existing infrastructure is required.

However, even using h.264, 15Mbit leaves you with room for 3 HD channels and no extra internet bandwidth. That's really pushing it. The cable companies have really got the edge in infrastrcuture here. Their infrastructure was built to move high-bandwidth signals directly into the home (most cable systems have an available bandwidht of at LEAST 400MHz), while the telephone infrastructure was originally designed to carry only baseband voice (bandwith ~= 10kHz).

latency vs. bandwidth (1)

fugu (99277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036802)

For games I'd rather see them decrease latency than increase bandwidth. Not sure to what extent that would be possible though

Always ignoring upstream... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036818)

Unlike their crappy copper network, my FiOS connection has 2mbit upstream. I generally get 220KBps transfer rates between home and work. Latencies for gaming are practically non-existant. VPN usage is actually pleasent now.

Sure, DSL is fine compared to comcast, but compared to Verizon's FiOS, they're only telling half the story.

The Internet isn't the only reason to get fiber (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036820)

Everything on the fiber side is all fiber. So home-to-home connections will get full speed.

And that's a beautiful thing. Back when RoadRunner first came to our neighborhood and they didn't install the speed caps yet, it was fantastic. We'd run Quake servers and have LAN party speeds across the city.

The home-to-home applications of this kind of bandwidth are a thing of beauty.

where's the faster upload ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036827)

i have plenty of downstream bandwidth, more upstream bandwidth is what people want so they can publish their own content, but i guess that would get in the way of certain large corporation$

1.5mbps vs. 6mbps (0)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036830)

Sorry, AT&T. I've used 1.5mbps, 3mbps and 5mbps services in the last year. There very definitely is a discernable difference in speed. You won't notice it until you actually use the higher speeds, but once you have you won't want to go back.

Now, AT&T may be rigth that their backbone is limiting their customers to slower speeds, but that's a problem with their backbone they need to fix. Other providers don't have that problem.

Depends on where you are and what you download (1)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036845)

I live in near Boston, MA. I just switched from Speakeasy DSL (6Mb/768k) to Comcast 8Mb/768k service.

The primary reason I switched was cost. I was paying $128/month for Speakeasy's "Gamers" package. Aside from the nice 6 static IPs I got, it offered me nothing that Comcast didn't do.

The fact that I now pay $45/month for a *full* 8Mb is icing on the cake. When I say full, I mean full... I actually get a hair *over* 8Mb. (8317 Kb on my last speed test.) Up speeds hover around 716 Kb/sec.

My DSL line never topped 4Mb down, although it was consistantly 730K/s up.

Overall, I'm loving the extra $80 in my pocket, and the extra 4 Mb on my connection... but your results will certainly vary. It depends on where you are and who you are downloading from. Some times I get crap speeds, some sites I get great speeds.

One thing to keep in mind is that with the advent of bittorrent, it's much easier to maximize your connection since you're splitting up the download across many hosts... which, when aggregated, will almost certainly have greater bandwidth than you.

Re:Depends on where you are and what you download (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036977)

For $90 you can get the business FiOS, and you'll have 15MB down, 2MB(!) up, and 5 statics, all with no PPPoE and latencies that would make your cable modem drool. Plus, the ToS lets you do pretty much whatever you want except spam, and there are no blocked ports. If you were willing to pay $128/month before...

For me, it's totally worth it, and I'm never going back.

WTF is he talkin about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036847)

I have Comcast 8mb/sec service and I regularly get 8mb/sec downloads from torrents and good file servers (MS and other large business sites).

AT&T used to own Comcast back when it was 3mb/sec... they should have know this fact a long time ago, after all it was part of their advertizing!!

Having used both (3, Interesting)

NFNNMIDATA (449069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036851)

Having used both services and numerous others I can say 1.5Mbps is noticeably slower than the 6Mbps, and the FIOS is just way faster than both for pretty much everything. By "way" I mean usually double the download speed. And for me it's cheaper than cable was by $10/mo, which is wonderful. Obviously you can hit some bottlenecks outside anyone's control, but these are actually pretty rare. Also, it's probably not relevant, but I also have a much more consistent low latency connection to the World of Warcraft servers now. I think that's more of an issue with the shared-bandwidth nature of the cable connection I had though. Anyway, that AT&T guy is incorrect as far as I can tell about there being no discernable difference, the difference between 1.5 and 6 is noticeable and from 6 to 15 is huge.

Can't Wait for FiOS (1)

bloobamator (939353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036866)

All I know is: as soon as Verizon wires my neighborhood with fibre, I'm switching to it. Cable is too unreliable. I live in a densely packed neighboorhood, so I never get really fast download speeds with cable because I'm always sharing bandwidth with a hundred other people. And the cable company's infrastructure is crap. It's always having problems.

VZ FiOS has to be better. It just has to be.

It's all true (1)

Brix Braxton (676594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036880)

This all sounds just like the guy who argued about there being no discernable difference between MS Write and MS Word while typing - oh wait, no one ever said that because it would be stupid to say. -Mike

Common man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036884)

""ArsTechnica has a story about AT&T COO Randall Stephenson telling folks that there is 'no discernable difference' between AT&T's 1.5 Mbps service and Comcast's 6 Mbps, because the backbone is slowing everything down."

Which is utterly irrelevent to the majority. I'm shopping for a new ISP and neither one is a good deal. Comcast just after Home broke up use to give good year-long deals. Now it' three months. SBC DSL is better but just like the cellular company you have to sign a year contract. And of course neither has a do it yourself option, even though comcast use to. So what would be relevent to the average consumer (all you geeks can sit down) is something that's between dial-up and all you can spend broadband that's just above dial-up costs, that doesn't involve a roll and wait installation.

Fine (1)

portwojc (201398) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036891)

AT&T argues that its model is cheaper, faster to deploy, and just as capable as Verizon's

AT&T should be told then fine and we'd like those tax breaks back that were givin for this very thing.

/. is FUN! (-1, Offtopic)

42Penguins (861511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036921)

Increased bandwidth doesn't matter.... APRIL FOOL'S!

I'm on cable, so, since it's obviously the same as a 9600 baud modem, this should be posted by April 1.

Time to retire Bill's quote... (3, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036927)

"640kbps ought to be enough for anybody" --AT&T COO Randall Stephenson

A little off topic but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036938)

In Ontario, we have Rogers Cable internet service and Bell Canada's DSL service (plus many other highspeed Cable/Phone providers). The thing is - Bell claims it is faster because everybody isn't sharing the same line like the Cable providers. This is bullcrap. Eventually, all DSL lines meet at the pipeline - thus it's the same old story.

Just my rant for today.

error in article text (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036944)

:1,$s/the backbone/AT&T's backbone/g

How about not? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036950)

The main argument from the article is that fiber to the home is not necessary. How about letting the consumer decide that?

How about letting those who read the article and wish to post a comment say that?

Between the recent submissions by editors who have trouble fashioning a simple sentence from words containing the requisite letters arranged in the correct order and this lame-assed rhetoric, I'm left wondering whether Slashdot is devolving into something that resembles a grade-school newspaper.

Maybe a Slashdot for Juniors site is in order.

Yeah, yeah, yeah ... get off my lawn.

Mr Stephenson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15036957)

Randall Stephenson telling folks that there is 'no discernable difference' between AT&T's 1.5 Mbps service and Comcast's 6 Mbps

BZZZZT! Wrong answer.

Survey says: False! (1, Troll)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15036958)

I regulary get downloads in the 900 KBytes/sec range.

On occasion, I've see downloads in the 1100 KBytes/sec range. This is on comcast's 8 mbit service.

Works as advertised, for me.

AT&T, you suck. I can't wait to see the cable providers quoting your CEO on their advertising literature.

Oh, and I believe their service maxes out at one HD stream per residence.

Huh, you say?

I've got 3 HD boxes at my house right now. I can get 3 HD on demand streams at any given time. Project Lightspeed = already outdated.
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