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Advocacy Affordability Broadband Availability Buncombe Cable Cloud Digital Inequality Digital Literacy DSL Fiber Fixed Wireless Broadband Latency Microsoft OneDrive Telecom Industry

No DSL – Cable, Fiber, Fixed Wireless, or Satellite?

What is next when the DSL copper internet service is stopped?

Recently I helped a rural Buncombe County resident of 60+ years with a questions about ‘unexpected errors and messages’ she was receiving while working on her bookkeeping desktop computer.

The Excel spreadsheet occasionally created ‘auto-recovered’ versions that confused her. Then she could not find the file on her local computer’s file system.

Noteworthy: Excel will attempt to autosave and create a recovery version of a file if unexpected computer system events occur, like a power failure or closing the computer without saving a file.

Additionally Microsoft was defaulting to save files to ‘OneDrive’ or Microsoft’s cloud storage instead of the local computer.

Cloud or ‘OneDrive’ file storage needs dependable internet. If your internet speeds are of DSL copper wire or wireless latency, you have less confidence of a timely remote cloud-server save.

Microsoft OneDrive is the Cloud

If you have an older computer and DSL speeds, saving a file the the cloud can be questionable if you are in a hurry. Slow download, upload, and latency can create uncertainty.

Additionally, if the system is trying to protect your local file by putting it to the cloud and you don’t know that ‘OneDrive’ is the cloud; your file could become orphaned from your workflows.

Fiber Broadband 12-Month Promotion

As it turns out, the client’s home had recent street-side digging of a fiber installation. Soon after, the client received a letter offering to get a ‘500Mbps speed’ service for $45 per month for up to 12 months.

The client claimed “$5 higher per month than her current service” from the same major provider.

Features and Benefits of AT&T 500Mbps speed

This client has several major features and benefits with fiber, including these listed on AT&T’s website:

  • 500Mbps equal upload and download speeds
  • Faster speed and more bandwidth for the always connected household
  • 20x faster upload speeds than cable
  • Power even more devices so everyone can enjoy their own screen
  • AT&T Internet Security included

What the promotional USPS promotional letter did NOT Indicate:

  • How much do you pay for monthly fiber broadband service after 12 months?
  • What are the taxes and equipment fees?

AT&T Shelving DSL

In October of 2020 AT&T indicated they would start shelving DSL.

“We’re beginning to phase out outdated services like DSL and new orders for the service will no longer be supported after October 1,” a corporate statement sent beforehand read.

“Current DSL customers will be able to continue their existing service or where possible upgrade to our 100% fiber network.”

USA Today’s Rob Pegoraro 2020

Monopolistic Fiber Broadband

This client has 5 options:

  1. Stop copper DSL internet (and phone service) and leverage there cell phones.
  2. Upgrade to cable internet.
  3. Investigate wireless home internet options (slower and less dependable internet than cable)
  4. Consider satellite connectivity, low-earth orbit
  5. Purchase fiber broadband service from the one and only provider in their area

The consumer has no ability easily to benchmark or compare internet service provider pricing options. Likely, the one-year plus pricing for fiber service will be much higher than $45 per month.

Reasonable and Protective-Pricing

Although this client appears to have the financial means to upgrade to fiber, who is advocating for reasonable and protective pricing schemes for this elderly client?

  • What happens to neighbors that may not have the financial ability to pay for upgraded fiber?
  • Who provides credible and secure digital education specific to the user’s needs?
  • What happens to the client’s service if the DSL service fails?
  • Who advocates for the not-so-current digital tech user?

“AT&T Fiber – Unlimited Internet Data | AT&T Internet.” 2021. AT&T. 2021. https://www.att.com/internet/fiber/

“Understanding Internet Speeds.” 2020. AT&T. 2020. https://www.att.com/support/article/u-verse-high-speed-internet/KM1010095

Pegoraro, Rob. 2020. “AT&T Shelving DSL May Leave Hundreds of Thousands Hanging by a Phone Line.” USA TODAY. USA TODAY. October 3, 2020. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2020/10/03/att-dsl-internet-digital-subscriber-line-outdated/5880219002/