Re: Just a little information about Sonic... what they have been talking about
Date: 03-14-2019 - 07:59
Minor correction that doesn't change the outcome of the story: real DSL was a regulated service. If an ISP was willing to install the right equipment, the phone company (whichever phone company) that provided DSL service to customers was required to carry the ISP's signal to ISP customers at "normal commercial rates" buried in a tariff someplace. Naturally, the phone company would usually only allow other ISPs to connect at 3mbps or less even if the phone company offered 6 (which was rarely reached) to its customers.
AT&T was and is heavily into FTTN (aka UVerse) because it was cheap. Set up a box next to the frame for a neighborhood, make a few connections, and remove or abandon the copper back to the central office. Since the distance to the "central office" is the main factor that limits speed for DSL, having a much shorter distance to the neighborhood box plus some changes to the coding allowed higher speeds (up to the teens of mbps, wow!). Further tweaks to the coding allow FTTN to reach into the 20s now, so it's competitive with low-end cable internet. But the key point is that by the time FTTN (and other forms of "last mile" fiber) came into use the rules had changed, and everything is now an unregulated "information service" rather than "telecommunications." There is no longer a requirement to provide carriage for other ISPs, at any price. Regulated phone service, for practical purposes, no longer exists.
I do wish we could get better service in eastern Sacramento. Best I can get (in a pricey suburb) is about 25mbps from AT&T and 50 from Comcast. Allegedly, somebody would have to provide FTTP for better speeds, though I do know of people elsewhere who get 500mbps (down, at least) from Comcast and 50-100 from AT&T without fiber. A key point, probably, is that we have underground utilities installed when the subdivision was built, 20 years ago. So the only companies with ducts are Comcast and AT&T, and neither has any interest in upgrading anything. They're also pretty good at pressuring the city to not allow competition.
Being a "phone company" no longer requires Sonic to have a landline phone as part of the package, though they probably still use a phone number in the system to identify the connection. In my case, with AT&T, the "landline" phone is VOIP, with priority over other internet traffic hard-coded into the gateway/modem to maintain voice (and fax) quality. Funny thing is, in my neighborhood, if you have "landline" AT&T service without internet, you no longer have a landline; it's fixed wireless running on their cell phone network, and does NOT work well with a fax machine or alarm system.
What does this have to do with trains? Nothing, really. Though SP did invent Sprint to sell excess capacity on its communication lines for long-distance service. For a while, it was #3 in the long-distance business, after MCI and AT&T. Eventually, SP spun it off and it got into other things, including offering one of the poorer-quality cell networks (now being acquired by T-Mobile aka Deutsche Telekom).