Feeds

America abandoning DSL in favour of faster cable

Dash to fibre as people abandon twisted copper

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

ADSL connections to US homes are on the slide as companies and consumers turn to cable and fibre for faster connectivity.

End of 2011 results show Verizon lost almost half a million DSL customers during last year, while AT&T managed to lose more than six hundred thousand in the last quarter alone - but those customers aren't turning away from the internet they're just switching to a more 21st-century form of connectivity.

So AT&T lost 636,000 DSL customers in the last three months of 2011, but picked up 587,000 for its U-Verse service which used fibre for the majority of the connection, if not all of it. Those missing 50,000 haven't dropped off the net either, Time Warner's cable operation picked up 130,000 customers over the same period, showing that anything is better than twisted-pairs of copper these days.

A decade ago methods of last-mile connectivity dominated many a pub conversation, with ADSL compared to cable and almost always winning despite its slower speed, as only ADSL could offer an uncontended connection which was seen as essential in making internet access pay.

Since then ADSL has got a lot faster, but cable companies have been very busy upgrading their infrastructure to support even faster connections with portioned bandwidth making contention a matter of contracted priorities rather than best-effort packets.

The telcos have been busy too - pushing fibre connections to the exchange, and then to the cabinet and in some places even to the home, reducing the burden on the aging copper which has hitherto been their unique selling point.

So those in cities, where lifting roads is cheap and competition drives innovation, are increasingly turning away from their twisted-pair copper connections to download (and upload) movies ever faster. Meanwhile their rural counterparts remain locked in a lottery of ageing copper which no-one is ever planning to upgrade - and which would probably be left to rot if it weren't for universal-service obligations.

These days it's often not the last mile which matters, but the spaghetti-like sprawl of connectivity between the service providers. A UK internet connection might offer iPlayer's "HD" content perfectly, but choke showing an SD trailer from LoveFilm: that's nothing to do with the speed of the last mile but of the connectivity between all the companies involved, something common to all forms of internet access. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.