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Re: AT&T: 15 Mbps Internet connections "irrelevant"
On Sat, 1 Apr 2006, Mikael Abrahamsson wrote: > http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060331-6498.html > > "In the foreseeable future, having a 15 Mbps Internet capability is > irrelevant because the backbone doesn't transport at those speeds," he > told the conference attendees. Stephenson said that AT&T's field tests > have shown "no discernable difference" between AT&T's 1.5 Mbps service and > Comcast's 6 Mbps because the problem is not in the last mile but in the > backbone." You can listen to Randall Stephenson's presentation at the BoA conference at the site: http://www.veracast.com/webcasts/bas/media06/id98101155.cfm This particular topic is in the Q&A towards the end of the talk. It was a financial analyst conference, so the technical language was probably a bit loose. AT&T has an OC192+ backbone, so obviously it wasn't a technical answer. At other conferences, other speakers have publically said they are also looking at bonding pairs to get even greater link speeds (40-100Mbps), not to mention other dedicated Internet access products with even faster link speeds. You have second phone lines, why not second DSL lines for people who feel the need for speed? Likewise cable modems (DOCSIS3.0) are adding channle bonding for higher access link speeds. But I think Mr. Stephenson's point was a network bottleneck is not always based on the access link speed some ISPs put in their advertising. Just go to any ISP user forum and you will see long threads complaining they can only download X Mbps from site Y in city Z. The bottleneck may be the remove server, a peering interconnect, a backbone link, a city router, etc. On the other hand, its not a good idea to generalize because other users in other cities may get better performance from other sites. There are also differences in how people use the network. Power users and gamers are looking for any edge they can get. Casual users may be more price sensitive and may not perceive enough of a difference between 6Mbps and 16Mbps for what they do. If you consider it from a marketing point of view rather than a technical point of view, if you are a mass marketer where do you find the biggest target markets? Wal-Mart targets a specific price point and target market and is very successful even though it doesn't sell ultra high-end goods. That's not to say things are static, and will never change. If you listen to Stephenson's presentation, he says access link speeds will increase, as well as the backbone capacity will increase. For financial analysts, the foreseeable future is the next quarter's financial results. Next year is long term. Two years is an eternity.