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AT&T brings $70/month fiber to Kansas City but there's a major catch

By Shawn Knight · 33 replies
Feb 16, 2015
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  1. AT&T on Monday announced the launch of its fiber Internet service in the Kansas City area, the same market that Google targeted in its initial fiber rollout more than two and a half years ago. While AT&T's service checks in...

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  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,832   +678

    Awesome...With a tagline like that they are going to sell a million of them. I told my wife if I ever say AWESOME to shoot me
  3. abysal

    abysal TS Booster Posts: 115   +40

  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,891   +2,218

    Their gigabit plan is 1 terabyte a month datacap, how much more do you need? I'm seriously asking, I have never broken 300gb a month cap. I'm constantly streaming hd video and downloading games too.
    Darth Shiv likes this.
  5. Once you start streaming 4K HD Video, you'll hit that 1 GB cap limit QUICKLY. AT&T is building in the lock-in and gouge plan early.


    As a consumer, the question "how much more do I need?" is at it's best redundant.
    I'll be polite and avoid any other adjectives that immediately come to mind.

    First, I've already detailed how much I need by purchasing a 1Gbps (gigabit per second) line rate.

    If I were anticipating a 1TB total monthly usage (which running at capacity of the circuit I've bought would be reached inside of two hours) I WOULDN'T BE INTERESTED IN FIBER

    That is the answer to your question. Your lack of utilization, imagination or anything else shouldn't presume on mine.

    If I'm paying a hundred dollars a month for the service (no chump change, and you know the final line on the bill will roll in at least 20% above that), I expect to be able to be able to stream all I want, push and pull data from cloud services, steam (hell, if I had to redownload my steam library that's 1TB right there).

    Today an actual high quality 1080p stream from Netflix can soak up about 5Gbph. If you might be at all interested in using any NEW technology out of your brand new fiber service (gee, imagine that), like quality 4K streams you could be running up near 20Gbph. (depends on a lot of factors). That's 20 hours of streaming for a month not including any other possible data usage in your home.

    I'm sure you're streaming in "HD" all the time. Though if you track at all with statistics (and I'll assume you may) , most consumers really don't know the difference and are often viewing heavily compressed and degraded crap that says "HD" in the bottom right of the screen.

    And mind you that's not usually your streaming service that's at fault for you getting that crap. It's people that sell you high speed internet that's everything but (we're going to discuss that a bit more).

    Data caps are stupid and unnecessary. All they do is serve as a giant red flag for consumers to know what companies not to purchase from. They're great early indicators of who will be nickel and diming on the customer bill, cutting corners on infrastructure/backbone/peerpoints (unable to actually deliver the speeds they advertise). Remember those "HD" streams I mentioned that are anything but?

    People like AT&T that will sell you one thing but deliver the opposite (due to either their negligent inability or shifty routing policies) are the very people at fault for this. It's bait and switch wrapped up in tech terms that people either don't understand, or don't realize how it might very well become relevant to them immediately, or possibly in the near future. "here take this great rate of speed!" (just don't try to actually use it for much) .

    And we aren't even going to get into the invasion of privacy they want to label as a 'premier' service...
    SNGX1275 likes this.


    Apologies, long day.

    Those streaming rates should be in GBph,
    and a high quality stream would end up being 50hrs of 4K, not 20hrs

    Yes, a lot. But again, not something I want to bother myself with having to budget or compete against with my data needs
    ... that's the whole point of purchasing a fiber link.
  8. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,963   +577

    Well this is the future. It isn't practical to not have data caps if they can't afford the amount of escalating data everyone is using. Data is a cost to the ISP so someone has to pay for it.

    If you downloaded at max speed, since there is comms overhead there are approximately 10 bits to a byte. So 1gbit/s => 1024 mbits/s => 102MB/s => 6,144MB/min => 368,640MB/hr => 8,847,360MB/day => 265,420,800 MB/mon => 253TB/mon.

    They are saying that if a high end user hits 1TB, it's starting to get uneconomical for them. If they didn't cap it, you would be able to use theoretically 253x more. Pretty sure that is going to cause problems for profit margins! Regardless of if it is included in the plan, internally there has to be an upper limit to what they can afford.

    Netflix 4k requires ~ 16Mbps. For a month that is then 16Mbps => 1.6MB/s => 96MB/min => 5,760MB/hr => 138,240MB/day => 3,317,760MB/mon => 3.16TB/mon. So you would be able to stream 4k video for approximately 7.5 hours per day to hit 1TB.
  9. I hit around 1.5TB in a month on my 20mbps internet from Time Warner. But I average 300-500GB a month which is from me mostly only playing games online and watching videos on YouTube. Also downloading games to PS4, some of those games come in around 35GB+updates.
  10. AnonymousSurfer

    AnonymousSurfer TS Guru Posts: 456   +40

    Why go to Kansas city when they could dominate the market elsewhere?

    All these companies are focusing on Kansas and here I am in a city with some of the worst internet speeds in America... and it's not even an underdeveloped city.
  11. Stryker88

    Stryker88 TS Rookie

    Since when did a byte change to 10 bits? Redo your math with the right information. Also, for optimal streaming of 4k, with no delay buffer, it's 20Mbps.

    Either way, your math does not factor in multi user or other sources, such as downloading games like the majority of games are done today. The majority of CD's as Iso's or similiar file extensions, are now downloaded digitally as Apple and Microsoft are providing native ways to mount the CD(Apple has for a longer time). Given any new game to be released later this year, most of them have a huge download(Witcher 3 installed is supposedly 50GB). If games came that size, it would take just 20 games to hit the cap in a given month. In 5 years, you'd have a lot of pissed off customers saying 1TB caps are too low.

    In my opinion, a more respectable amount of data would be 4TB before throttle as that would fall more in line with keeping bandwidth hogs in check and not entirely raping the customer.
  12. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    I should hope they'll be able to get your data regardless. They're giving you a $30/month discount. Seriously, the 'major catch' is that the cost is $99/month with a discount offered if you allow data collection?
    How freaking entitled are you?! For years they've been taking it for free, now they want to pay you and you complain?!
    Maybe we should just choose the other 1gbps connection available to us then.
    dms96960 likes this.
  13. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,440   +1,907

    they are not allowed to take those details without your consent or a court order.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,958   +3,998

    Seriously? The only reason $70.00 a month for internet seems like a good deal, is because it's less than a $100.00 a month.

    Hell, Verizon advertises FIOS all night long for $90.00, and that's phone, TV AND internet.

    I can get Comcast internet for $70.00 a month, and tentatively, that's without them planting an endoscope on my computer chair.....OUCH!
    Evernessince likes this.
  15. thorpj

    thorpj TS Enthusiast Posts: 98   +27

    Let's not talk speeds here. Let's talk privacy.

    Honestly ATT? You could be working to improve your reputation. Try it.
  16. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    Actually we dont' really know if it's a good deal because there are so few providers who can give you 1Gpbs. To say you can 'get internet' is not the same as this. This is the Ferrari of internet connections.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,958   +3,998

    Perhaps so. But, 1Gbs should become the standard eventually.

    As to that amount of bandwidth, very few actually need it, while many suffer from delusions of grandeur thinking they do.

    Yeah I know, what about a family of 10 with multiple streaming services?. They actually need gigabit service, along with a plan implemented by the authorities regarding family planning.
    misor likes this.
  18. Whatever!! I have Google Fiber since day one. We blow through 300GB like nothing!

    Just a full image backup of my computer to the cloud eats up more than 300GB!!
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,958   +3,998

    Nobody said you couldn't, or shouldn't, backup to another machine.

    That wouldn't be progressive though, now would it?
  20. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,963   +577

    Because for me to send 8 bits of data, I have to include error correction, communication protocol padding etc. So bitrate is NOT the same as data rate. If I want to send 1KB of data, I need to send MORE than 1024 bits. Internet providers charge you for the amount of bits sent, not the amount of data you received.

    Here's a nice explanation for overhead on ADSL. A similar concept will be in place transmissions over fiber:
    Here are some example fiber overheads:

    Also 16Mbps as per:

    Yes ideally it would be higher. I'd imagine they'd roll out better plans in the near future particularly with demand.

    Opt in and use a VPN. Then they physically can't read your traffic anyway.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  21. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    What's the point of having a 1 GB internet if you can only use it for 1,000 seconds at it's top speed. Misleading to many who consider internet speed as much as housing taxes when selecting a house.

    In all seriousness, data caps don't serve any purpose. If the network isn't being used, they are just wasting money on running it. Inversely, if they are overbooking the network, they should just increase capacity.
  22. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    It doesn't cost them more money to deliver more data. They only pay a fixed cost when the network requires an upgrade, otherwise an underutilized network is just wasting money. If they cannot deliver 1 Gbps speed, why bother listing if you're just going to cap it anyways?
  23. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    100% agree with you on this. It's like all these companies had to do is be dirty as heck and when they finally throw the customer a bone, guys like mike come in here and defend that kind of behavior. Since when is $70 a good price for internet or not having your data collected and distributed a privilege?
  24. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,891   +2,218

    Evernessince, you need to learn to consolidate your posts into 1.

    That said, it's gbps making it 8,000 seconds to reach your cap. Fact of the matter is that between three people in my house gaming and streaming, I have never once toppled my 300GB data cap. What are people using that requires 1TB of data in a month and where are they storing it? Don't say 4k streaming, there simply isn't enough 4k content right now to be relevant. You might be able to find a total of 1TB of 4k content that appeals to you and it'd take a lot longer than a month to find it.

    Also, bandwidth is expensive, it isn't an unlimited resource that can be taken out of thin air. Bandwidth comes from expensive network infrastructure that uses tons of electricity. That infrastructure has to be paid for. Fiber Optic lines don't just magically appear, they have to be installed by well train people and then managed by people who spend years in college learning about these systems. Sure, ATT is a greedy corp, but this **** isn't free and has to be metered some how
  25. MartyLK

    MartyLK TS Rookie

    As is always the case with AT&T, you'll get maybe 90% of the available speed. A 3Mbps DSL saw 2.5Mbps. A 6Mbps DSL saw 5Gbps. 12Mbps U-Verse saw 10Mbps. 24Mbps plan saw 17Gbps.

    AT&T isn't ever going to give you the full speed of what you sign for, so Google Fiber will remain the best choice, no matter how AT&T words their service.

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