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Old 10-21-2020, 8:37am   #1
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AT&T shelving DSL may leave hundreds of thousands hanging by a phone line

One of America’s largest internet providers is uploading its oldest broadband technology into the sunset.

On Oct. 1, AT&T stopped selling digital-subscriber-line connections, stranding many existing subscribers on those low-speed links and leaving new residents of DSL-only areas without any wired broadband.

“We’re beginning to phase out outdated services like DSL and new orders for the service will no longer be supported after October 1,” a corporate statement sent beforehand read.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

DSL – a broadband connection delivered over old copper telephone lines – is no prize at AT&T. The company doesn’t sell downloads faster than 6 Mbps, less than a fourth of the 25-Mbps minimum definition of the Federal Communications Commission and further cramps their utility with stringent data caps of just 150 gigabytes.

“I'm really not surprised that AT&T is phasing out DSL, as it's an obsolete technology,” emailed one soon-be-stranded DSL subscriber, retiree Jack Mangold of Collettsville, North Carolina. “I am, however, very disappointed that AT&T has no interest in replacing DSL in rural areas with some other technology.”

AT&T reported 653,000 total DSL connections at the end of its second quarter, compared to 14.48 million on its fiber-optic and hybrid-fiber services. The latter, sold as “AT&T Internet,” combines fiber trunk lines with DSL last-mile connections for faster speeds.

The company has seen DSL subscribers steadily dwindle. Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at the research firm Leichtman Research Group, wrote in an email that two years ago, AT&T had just over a million DSL customers.

“AT&T basically gave up on fighting cable over a third of its territory” said Dave Burstein, editor of the trade publication Fast Net News.

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