It looks like AT&T is starting to phase out it’s cheapest DSL Internet service plan.
This is good news in one sense – AT&T’s DSL service maxes out at 6 Mbps download speed. A far cry from the 25 Mbps that reaches the FCC’s minimum standard to be called “broadband”. The DSL service was primarily for very rural areas, or for low income customers who couldn’t afford more expensive options.
Unfortunately, it looks like AT&T is leaving both of those groups out to dry: AT&T will not be expanding their fiber-to-the-home service, and AT&T will not offer the current DSL service to new customers at all.
You may remember that AT&T was required to expand its fiber network to 12 million customers when it bought and merged with DirecTV. I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence to point out that the end of AT&T’s fiber rollout happened just as it met the fiber rollout threshold.
Additionally, it looks like AT&T may have in “digital redlining”. While AT&T rolled out fiber service primarily to cities (which makes sense), it was only in higher-income areas. Even when lower-income neighborhoods were nearby and could have been (relatively) easily served.
Currently, it’s also not clear if AT&T will be expanding it’s mid-range offerings (called “AT&T Internet”). According to this Ars Technica report, about 28% of AT&T customers are not offered service which meets the FCC broadband guidelines.
In some cases, they may have options with other cable providers for higher speeds, but since AT&T does not offer a similarly competitive product, customers are denied the benefits of competition.