Are you reading this over AT&T DSL right now? If so, you might have to upgrade or go shopping for a new ISP soon. AT&T quietly stopped selling new traditional DSLs on October 1st, though they will continue to sell their upgraded fiber-to-the-node version. This leaves a gigantic digital divide, as only 28% of AT&T’s 21-state territory has been built out with full fiber to the home, and the company says they have done almost all of the fiber expansion that they intend to do. AT&T’s upgraded DSL offering is a fiber and copper hybrid, where fiber ends at the network node closest to the subscriber’s home, and the local loop is still over copper or coax.
At about the same time, a report came out written jointly by members of the Communications Workers of America union and a digital inclusion advocacy group. The report alleges that AT&T targets wealthy and non-rural areas for full fiber upgrades, leaving the rest of the country in the dark.
As the internet has been the glue holding these unprecedented times together, this news comes as a slap in the face to many rural customers who are trying to work, attend school, and see doctors over various videoconferencing services.
If you live in a big enough city, chances are you haven’t thought of DSL for about twenty years, if ever. It may surprise you to learn of the popularity of ADSL in the United Kindom. ADSL the main source of broadband in the UK until 2017, having been offset by the rise of fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections. However, this Ofcom report shows that in 2018 ADSL still made up more than a third of all UK broadband connections.
Why do people still have it, and what are they supposed to do in the States when it dries up?