Not sure if this is related or not, but I had a puzzling experience with AT&T related to my DSL service recently.
I have had a AT&T Basic DSL plan for over a year now. It's ~350kbs down/~750 kbs up. It's never been great, but I'm a pretty light user, just internet surfing and moving files back and forth every once in a while between a remote server and my machine, and internet radio. I run Ubuntu 8.4 with a Linksys Router (wireless off) and use Firefox.
About a week ago, my internet connection started getting really sluggish. Couldn't even support my streaming radio. I opened Ubuntu's system monitor and download rate was capped at 40kbs. I would it test it by trying to load youtube videos. Every once in a while it would briefly spike above that, like at 60kbs, then right back down. Youtube was impossible.
I called AT&T customer support at the beginning of the week. They referred me to tech support recommending I request "Tier 2". So I finally had time to call this evening. After about 20 mins on hold and with Tier 1, I got to Tier 2, a woman in Texas, who opened a ticket and told me I would get a call back this evening or tomorrow. About an hour later, I get a call back with a recorded message saying everything is fixed and asking me to press 1 or 9 or something to confirm or press 0 for a technician. I'm curious to find out what happened so I press 0. Meanwhile, I fire up youtube, look at my system monitor, and sure enough it's scaling up to 80, 100kbs.
After a 10 min wait, I get a guy in California who sounds like he's been dealing with AT&T customer support for the last 2 hours. I'm polite, do my little Columbo routine, tell him I'm just following up and am curious and am updating my own notes (which I've learning to always take in these situations) and ask him if he can tell me how the issue was fixed.
He was pretty vague saying he didn't see anything that indicated it "was optimized." He said they just ran a line test and that seems to have fixed it. I asked him if it would have been restricted for some reason? He said it might if the line was showing "intermittent signal." I didn't press the issue. I just said, "Well, it looks like the issue is solved," thanked him and said goodbye.
Anybody have any further insight into what might have been happening? Was AT&T capping my broadband -- at 40kbs!? Is there a more innocent explanation?