A recent AT&T statement announced that the company will be phasing out DSL services, which provide internet access over cable technology from the 1990s to over 653,000 AT&T customers.
The statement released by the company read, “We’re beginning to phase out outdated services like DSL and new orders for the service will no longer be supported after October 1. Current DSL customers will be able to continue their existing service or where possible upgrade to our 100 percent fiber network.”
Those that have DSL service can keep it, for now, but no new subscribers will be able to join the network. AT&T’s official DSL webpage has been updated to state that “AT&T no longer offers DSL service.”
According to AT&T, the company is aiming to focus on enhancing their networks with more advanced, higher speed technologies like fiber and wireless, which consumers are demanding more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While DSL is an outdated technology, which is not equipped to handle the bandwidth demands of today or the future, phasing out DSL services entirely stands to impact the consumers which rely on them. Reports filed by AT&T show that legacy DSL service is its only wired broadband offering in 6,600 census blocks, with populations totaling 547,000 people.
By discontinuing DSL services, 67,000 people in 1,300 census blocks in California have been left with no cable company or independent wireline internet service provider to fill the gap left by AT&T pulling the plug on potential new customers, reported Tellus Venture Associates.
Broadband task force to draw ‘blueprint’ for closing digital divide
A group of county officials announced Wednesday that they have formed a broadband task force with the goal of creating a “blueprint” for closing the digital divide.
The task force, comprised of nearly three dozen county government officials from across America, aims to study the lack of reliable broadband with a particular focus on the challenges facing underserved communities.
The task force, organized through the National Association of Counties, is co-chaired by J.D. Clark, the county judge of Wise County, Texas, and Craig Rice, a member of the Montgomery County Council in Maryland.
A report, titled Understanding the True State of Connectivity in America, released by NACo and partner organizations earlier this year, found that nearly 65 percent of U.S. counties experience the internet at speeds below the minimum standards set by the Federal Communications Commission. That number is even higher in rural America, where 77 percent of counties operate below the FCC standard.
As local governments face state-imposed limitations to expanding access to broadband connectivity in 22 states, NACo is working to pass federal legislation that would remove those barriers to expand broadband access.
“Our new task force will examine the intersection of public and private sector efforts to deploy broadband networks and create a blueprint for local governments to help bridge the digital divide,” said Clark in a NACo press release.
Phoenix Center analysis finds sizable declines in broadband prices between 2015 and 2020
Citing a study released by US Telecom entitled 2020 Broadband Pricing Index, Arthur Menko finds broadband prices have significantly fallen since 2015.
Phoenix Center Chief Economist George Ford builds on that report in a persepctive, “Are Broadband Prices Declining? A Look at the FCC’s Price Survey Data.” (PDF) The report’s findings show that the prices for both low and high-speed broadband are falling over time, but that the price for high-speed broadband is falling faster. Since 2015, broadband prices have fallen by 28.1 percent for the most popular speed tiers and by 43.9 percent for the fastest speed tiers.
Menko utilized data from the FCC’s Urban Rate Survey to compare average broadband prices between 2015 and 2020. In order to adjust for inflation, Menko converted all of the prices to 2020 dollars using the Consumer Price Index, before assessing them.
On average, he finds that prices fall by about 8.5 percent annually, and that these changes are statistically-significant and not “mere reflections of sampling variability.”
“It appears that broadband prices are falling each year by a sizable amount,” writes Menko.