Semi-exclusive OR

In this town, you have Cox Cable, or you have whatever the heck it is AT&T is selling; if there are other options, they’ve been tucked away behind a Concealment Spell or something.

This past week, AT&T sent me a big bruiser of an envelope with the breathless announcement that “U-verse is now available for your home!” As expected, they had a deal to offer. Not as expected, they were making serious speed claims: “Now with blazing-fast speeds up to 45Mbps.” Of course, “up to” is the inevitable weasel word: not all locations can get this speed. Specifically:

In areas where AT&T deploys U-verse through FTTN, they use High-speed digital subscriber lines with ADSL2+ or VDSL technology. Service offerings depend on the customer’s distance to an available port in the distribution node, or the central office. To qualify for U-verse TV service (only available through VDSL2), the customer must be less than 1000 meters (3500 feet) from a VRAD, the VRAD must contain an available port, and the copper wire-loop must pass qualification. Where pair bonding is available, the maximum service distance can extend to 1600 meters (5500 feet). Pair bonding is also necessary for U–verse’s fastest internet tier (Power Tier 45 Mbit/s down).

If they’ve built a VRAD in this neighborhood, I haven’t seen it. Old-style DSL had to be piped in from the Windsor office at 23rd and Portland, which is a heck of a lot farther away than 1.6 km, the main reason I didn’t order it back when I moved in.

The punchline, of course, is that during this same week, Cox dispatched an email to tell me I was being upgraded from 25 to 50 Mbps — assuming, of course, I have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I’m assuming I don’t, even though they supplied this box in 2011, five years after the introduction of 3.0; and anyway, I get a fairly consistent 30 Mbps, which qualifies, I suppose, for “up to” 50 Mbps.


  1. ms7168 »

    17 August 2014 · 11:20 am

    DOCSIS 3.0 uses channel bonding to effectively double speeds. I got one when they first came out and at the time Cox was not using channel bonding. Even without it though they are much faster. I usually get 10 to 20 mbps above what I’m paying for.

    A friend and co-worker bought a home in the 4100 block of NW 19th and she ordered DSL and I remember thinking that she should get stellar service in that location. She got the advertised speed and no more.

  2. Georganna Hancock (@GLHancock) »

    17 August 2014 · 6:29 pm

    And even ATT’s broadband is metered. At least my TWC is not limited. There are other ISPs around, using satellites for, I think, downloads only, DSL for uploading (last time I checked). I’m thinking of getting a NetZero wifi hotspot, now that it’s available in San Diego.

  3. CGHill »

    17 August 2014 · 7:25 pm

    I have a cap at Cox, but it’s 250 GB, and most months I use 40 or less.

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