A few years back, AT&T rolled out an early market test deployment of WiMAX in Pahrump, Nevada. Now an AT&T customer there tells me AT&T will stop offering the service effective Dec. 31 and has opted instead for DSL and is deploying remote DSLAMs around the town about 60 miles from Las Vegas.
Apparently there wasn't enough bandwidth to handle the demand. "We had it for about two years, and the longer we had it, the slower it got," the AT&T customer reports, noting he generally got 384 Kbs to 768 Kbs downloads on WiMAX. He's now on AT&T's 6 Mbs DSL plan, so while the switch to DSL cost $5 a month more, it was a no brainer.
What's notable about this development is AT&T's new technology chief John Donovan said only four months ago that the big telco viewed WiMAX as a less costly alternative to replacing aging copper plant and installing remote DSLAMs in order to provide DSL, particularly in less densely populated areas.
I sent an email to AT&T spokesman Michael Coe Dec. 10 asking why WiMAX was scrapped in favor of DSL in Pahrump but received no reply, so readers will have to draw their own conclusions. AT&T has also deployed WiMAX in Alaska offering sub 1 Mbs throughput speed and in parts of the former Bellsouth territory AT&T acquired at the end of 2006.
If AT&T's version of WiMAX can't provide more than 1 Mbs, it is already essentially obsolete and calls into question AT&T's expectations that it will serve as lower cost broadband option compared to DSL.