Monday, August 28, 2006

Broadband may be up to 2 years off -- and not even that's certain

After a meeting with AT&T officials, El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago believes DSL Internet service could arrive in areas with dial-up within 18 to 24 months.

But she needs help.

Those who do not have the high-speed Internet service and wish to have it are requested to provide addresses and telephone numbers that will allow AT&T officials to begin a planning and cost analysis for a construction budget submission to the county, Santiago said.

Click here for rest of the story in the Tahoe Daily Tribune (registration required)

Let's analyze this for a moment. AT&T's actions mean either one of two things:

1. AT&T's system planners had planned to deploy advanced broadband services no sooner than 5 to 10 years from now, knowing that in order to do so it would need to upgrade its aged, pair gained copper cable system that isn't able to support expanded DSL to fiber optic. In the meantime, Ma Bell is "playing" Santiago and Handal in a delaying tactic to gather market data it likely already possesses in a cynical game of rope a dope. It's highly implausible that AT&T doesn't already know its customers' phone numbers and service addresses as well as the tremendous pent up demand for broadband as well as reliable voice service. The company's acting as if this information is "news" strikes this blogger is disingenuous.

2. AT&T has essentially written off large portions of its service area and has no plans to upgrade its system in El Dorado County to support advanced services such as high speed Internet, concluding it's not in its business interests to do so. But rather than say this publicly amid growing pressure to act, AT&T is engaging in a public relations palliative and running a "drill" to gather information and create an appearance of genuine concern.

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