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Increased Bandwidth Irrelevant? 366

Posted by Zonk
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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Increased Bandwidth Irrelevant?

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  • Vested interests... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Space cowboy (13680) * on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:20PM (#15036593) Journal

    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 :-)

    Simon
    • by spxero (782496) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:33PM (#15036747) Journal
      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).
      • by b1t r0t (216468) on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:17PM (#15037174)
        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.

        With bittorrent, your upstream bandwidth is generally going to be more of a problem than your downstream bandwidth. You need to tell your BT client to cap its upload at no more than 85% of your upstream speed, otherwise the dropped ACKs will kill performance for everything else. You didn't say who your 4Mbit connection was with, but if it's a cable modem, you may either have a decent upstream or your ISP is doing some "bandwidth shaping" to limit your BT uploads to a reasonable rate.

      • by Garak (100517) <chris AT insec DOT ca> on Friday March 31, 2006 @06:34PM (#15037817) Homepage Journal
        With a simple bit of traffic shaping a single 1.5mbit DSL line can handle the webbroswing of alot of users. Even if a few are using Bittorrent and other bandwidth hungry applications. The big downloads will be a little slow but one shouldn't notice latency on small transfers if its setup properly.

        The real problem with Bittorrent on ADSL is on the upload side. The send queue on the modem fills up and packets will take a few 100ms to get through if they don't get dropped. This makes for a painfully slow experience.

        Greater than 1.5mbit service only really required when you want to offer services like streaming media. Using a MPEG4 codec like xvid you can stream fairly good quality TV at 1.5mbit but that dosn't leave much for overhead and other applications. Also thats only one channel, these days your typical home may have 4 people watching 4 different things on 4 differnt channels, so then you need 6mbit of bandwidth.

        No major provider is going to get behind peer to peer. The idea behind p2p is to avoid the bandwidth cost. Well thats lost income for the provider. Peer to peer is a cool idea but in the long run its going to be squashed.

        I can see the day comming when its impossible to get a publicly routed IPv4 address to your home. Some ISP's are already using private addressing for their subscribers. The switch to IPv6 just isn't happening and there really isn't a need. Between virtual hosting and NAT the IP address shortage has been solved. No desktop computer really needs an Internet routable IP and this also adds a layer of security.

        As much as I love getting my weekly fix of TV for free off Bittorrent, I just don't see ISP's allowing this to continue for much longer. Once they work out an effective way to stream content I can see them filtering it out all together. They are not going to let people to get what they are selling for free. Both of the local broadband ISP's here already are cracking down on it by heavly throttling all traffic to users who exceed a cerntain threshold.

        Very few public sites can supply a single user with 6mbit. Most servers are still on 100mbit ethernet and are serving alot more than 20 clients at a time. Currently the only way to get more than 1.5mbit from the public internet is via bittorrent. Unless you have your own server in a datacenter thats not seeing much load. When I had 5mbit DSL I could download at 500kB/s from my colocated server.
    • nonsense.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:43PM (#15036833) Homepage
      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.

      • Rubbing alchhol is actually better than the bottle of wine. Drinking it will make you blind and them you won't need to go to the movies or press on your eyeball.
  • have comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rubycodez (864176) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:21PM (#15036598)
    and I sometimes get 3 - 4 Mbit / sec on sustained downloads. end of argument. AT&T, fix your slow shit.
    • Re:have comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pxtl (151020) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:23PM (#15036625) Homepage
      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.
      • 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. :)
      • by Burning1 (204959) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:59PM (#15037002) Homepage
        Sounds like my first relationship. Let me tell you that even if you have a weak back-bone, a fat pipe can be a lot of fun in the right hands.
    • AT&T, fix your slow shit

      This [google.com] might help.

    • Re:have comcast (Score:3, Informative)

      by David Horn (772985)


      I have NTL cable in the UK and get a consistent 10Mb/s on torrents and downloads from fast servers.

  • 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.
  • by feepness (543479) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:22PM (#15036619) Homepage
    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!
    • by hyfe (641811)
      Next you'll be asking me to choose a health-care provider!

      Only if you have money.

    • by jd (1658)
      Most customers have bugger all idea of how much bandwidth their applications use, or what bandwidth would be required by the services they are demanding (CD-quality VoIP, movies-over-IP, things like that), or what bandwidth will be needed by applications invented next week on Thursday.

      I do agree that the backbone is lagging behind, but don't butcher the users' capabilities simply because the telecos can't get their fingers out. Especially as it seems to be the telecos who are complaining. Doubly so, when it

  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:23PM (#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.
    • 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.
    • 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 no
  • Faster to deploy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeWalsh (32530) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:23PM (#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.
    • 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.
    • 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]."
  • they can charge more when they roll out the tiered internet, right? :ugh:
    • 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.
  • RF over Fibre? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by pete-classic (75983)
    I figured the summary was screwed up, but the article isn't any clearer about how one uses fibre to carry an RF signal.

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

  • by Surt (22457) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:24PM (#15036640) Homepage Journal
    ... 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 recently begun to think about the coming crisis in bandwidth. You correctly point out people serving their own content. With Apple putting AVChat in every computer, and other computer makes about to follow suit, everyone who WAS IMing is about to be chatting live. More video on demand, ipod downloads, you name it. There is about to be a bandwidth shortage. And hording won't do you any good.
  • I have Verizon FIOS (Score:4, Informative)

    by MikeDataLink (536925) <mike@noSPAm.murraynet.net> on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:24PM (#15036644) Homepage Journal
    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 Microsoft.com). I'd say their backbone is working just fine.
  • Planning ahead? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:26PM (#15036661) Homepage Journal
    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? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tadrith (557354) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:26PM (#15036666) Homepage
    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.

  • Not Yet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spazoidspam (708589) * on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:27PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@[ ]pheu ... t ['mor' in gap]> on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:27PM (#15036681) Homepage
    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.
  • by radical_dementia (922403) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:29PM (#15036701) Journal
    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.
  • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:30PM (#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.
    • 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.
      • Way before BT. In fact, I worked there when Napster was just getting off the ground. I remember some of our clients connections going down because they were downloading too much with Napster, and the managers would say "What is Napster?"

        I have long since moved on. Better pay, slower backbone connections. You take the good with the bad... :)
    • Can you install OpenVPN and Quagga for me on that box, and hook me up....? :)
      • Sorry, I quit about 4 months before the WorldCom scandal. (March of 2002) Unintentional good timing, although I lost my entire 401k. Never invest in the company that you work for, especially when it's WorldCom.
    • I have to disagree. I work at a media hosting company and while I don't know the exact specs for their connection to the net at large, I know that for sites pretty much up and down the west coast I regularly get 2 megabytes per second. That's 20Mb, which for those keeping score is twice as fast as the first commercially widespread ethernet adaptors. The fedora core 5 DVD torrent transferred in less than 15 minutes.

      My home cable modem regularly exceeds 8Mb and based on the things I do with my time and c

  • 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
  • 45.2 Kbps (Score:2, Funny)

    by rippofrank (936044)
    Damn you and your high-speed, all I get is 45.2 Kbps. :-(
  • 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.
    • AT&tT pissing off customers isn't going to make a difference. In most areas they serve, they have a mandated monopoly, also, they own the phone lines in such areas. So, if they piss off a geek, who is currently an AT&T subscriber, all that will happen is that said geek will jump to $small_isp, who pays AT&T for the line. Sure, AT&T gets slightly less money, they are still making money off that geek.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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 re
    • 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.
      • Wow, I would have said that the American phone system is one of the few pieces of infrastuture that I never worry about it. It always works.

        What are it's failings?

      • 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.


        Or more likely economic. The US had by far the best telephone service in the world until deregulation and breakup of ATT. After the breakup companies couldn't make enough bux to build state of the art infrastructure anymore, so service went downhill.

        If you live in urban areas you can get decent to very good connections - look up FIOS and Cablevision Boost service for examples.

  • 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
    • 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.
    • Now I am on Verizon DSL. I get 40kbps....DOWNLOAD.

      Yikes. You should be complaining. I have DSL through a third party but on Verizon's lines. The service is rated at 768 Kbps (that's bits) down. I regularly see download speeds of 80 - 90 KBps (that's Bytes) -- so, very close to the advertised speed.

      If you're really only getting 40 kbps, there's something very, very wrong with your connection. You just have to squeak enough to get it greased.

  • 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.
    • Your wrong, but only slightly.

      Here's AT&T's project lightspeed in a nutshell:

      25 MBit/sec service to the home.

      1.5-6 MBit/sec reserved for internet.

      12 MBit/sec reserved for 1 HD stream.

      Remainder split up among a maximum of 3 SD streams, and phone service. Yes, this means you can't have more than 1 HD stream on project lightspeed. And you can't have more than 4 video streams, total.
  • So I guess all those downloads where I routinely get 700kBytes/sec throughput on Comcast's service are a figment of my imagination?
  • BS Alert!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:34PM (#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?

  • 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.

  • by Zedrick (764028) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:35PM (#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.
  • One at a time.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by squison (546401) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:38PM (#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.. (Score:5, Informative)

      by MonMotha (514624) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:56PM (#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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 nyc.speakeasy.net speed test.) Up speeds hover around 716 Kb/sec.

    My D
  • Having used both (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NFNNMIDATA (449069) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:45PM (#15036851) Journal
    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.
  • by portwojc (201398)
    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.
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Friday March 31, 2006 @04:52PM (#15036927)
    "640kbps ought to be enough for anybody" --AT&T COO Randall Stephenson
  • 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 Slash
  • 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.
  • Look, the speed is always limited at the slowest point. If could be the 1.5M/5M/15M at your house, or it could be heavily overworked atm and you having the lowest priority. With that said, I have been using comcast due to their having only a slightly better uptime than qwest. But I have noticed on several qwest DSLs, that they have about the same speed on uploading/downloading various softwares.

    If qwest improves their service or comcast gets worse, then I will switch to them. Keep in mind that for years, I
  • Admittingly yes, the average consumer does not need more then 1.5Mbs as you simply are not going to be viewing more content than that at any one time. Gamers obviously want more, as do downloaders. I'm still waiting for decent upload speed from anybody. Some commerical DSL providers provide decent upload speed, while comcasts commerical services cap out at 286K upload.
  • I have 6 meg service from SBC, now AT&T, and I sure can fill up my downstream bandwidth. When I download binaries from usenet, I'm limited entirely by my download speed, both with Giganews, and (after a recent major performance upgrade) newsreader.com. While I'm usually downloading multiple streams, even a single stream can peak at 3-4 Mb/sec.

    I'm just waiting to see what I can get after they light up the Project Lightspeed box down the street. I hear they'll be using VDSL2, which gives some really ni

  • all this bandwidth may windup being moot if the people that want to end network Neutrality and or switch to bandwidth used pricing models have their way.

    why is it people in korea have like 20000000000Mbs connections for $10 a month (ok maybe i exaggerated slightly)

    and in the US we will be lucky to keep only paying $50 a month of 3.0Mbs connections.

    We in the US are getting Screwed on data pricing and speed.
  • by briancnorton (586947) on Friday March 31, 2006 @05:12PM (#15037125) Homepage
    Lets pretend that you have virtually unlimited bandwidth to your house. What are you (as a consumer) going to do with it? Forget businesses and industrial use, what would a consumer do with it? Video is a good option for IPTV, but that's a hard financial sell against a deployed coaxial cable network. (not impossible, but hard) What else? Play quake with no lag? Seriously, there is a point of diminishing returns until the software has a valid reason to use that much bandwidth.
    • Remote storage with hard driveless boxes. You can rent movies with OnDemand now, what about storing you PVR data offsite so no matter where you go you can watch your shows. As for gaming. Loading say FPS mods on the fly. (even large ones) And of course the most important. Everyone can cache sites before they are /.ed and /. can just load-balance the cache ;)
  • Distributed Systems (Score:2, Informative)

    by VisiX (765225)
    It is important to note that the speed loss described in the article is in single point to single point communication. If you are downloading multiple pieces of a file coming from many different locations (read: bittorrent) you will be able to acheive much higher speeds on fibre as each individual incoming connection travels a seperate path through the connected networks.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday March 31, 2006 @06:13PM (#15037667)
    I have 30Mb/5Mb Verizon Fios (Fiber optics to the house) and i absolutely love it. To say there is no difference is absolutely retarded. You cant pull 30Mb/s from easynews.com with AT&T's 1.5Mb or comcasts 6Mb service, but you can with Fiber.

    You not only can upload faster, but you also do not get capped for using your service. Try that with a cable broadband provider. Sure they may advertise 6/1, 10/1, even 15/1 and 30/2 now (optonline) But if you use that upload bandwidth for even an hour straight, you will get capped down to ridiculous levels and your bill will not reflect it. Nothing is worse than having Optonilne's 30Mb/2Mb service and realizing you've been capped down to 6Mb/15KB/s AND you're bill is still the same $60 a month price.

    For some reason cable broadband providers love to charge you full price even though they've capped your service down to near 56k speeds.

    Fiber is the future. Anyone claiming other wise is not up to par and is affraid of it. They cant deliver the speeds the market demands. Frankly the market demanded it years ago, and only a few have stepped up just recently. Verizon being the major player. Bravo Verizon.

    Coax can do a lot of things but everyone should laugh at these companies when they tell us that we dont need speed.

    The net would be so much more if we had faster speeds.

    Just look at what verizon is doing. They're delivering HD TV through Fiber to the house at a much cheaper package price than cable providers.

    The sooner we get faster speeds, the sooner we have a more advanced civilization with new developing markets and utilities that make our lives far better than yesteryear.

    Anyone holding us back, should be left to die like the peice of shit company they are. No hand outs. You suck. Build up your infrastructure or find a different market.

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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