$20 for 768Kbps Internet? AT&T ?deal? shows sad state of US broadband | Ars Technica (via Mowser) (click for full article) by Nate Anderson - July 1, 2013 "For many years, I was an AT&T DSL customer with a "top of the line" 6Mbps connection. Eventually, the company's inability to offer faster speeds in the Chicago area drove me into the waiting arms of Comcast, which was substantially more expensive but had the great virtue of at least offering speeds of 20+ Mbps. Now, AT&T wants me back. Having finally brought its fiber-to-the-local-node U-Verse system to my town, AT&T sent me a letter this week offering "great low prices" and "a whole lot more." The low price turned out to be $19.95 a month. The "whole lot more" turned out to be: A one-year term commitment Up to $180 in early termination fees $99 installation charge $6/month fee to rent a DSL modem/router, should I need one "Up to 768k" connection speeds Yes, you read that last point right. This incredible deal package provides Internet so slow that it is still measured in kilobits per second. (The upside? No real worries about burning through your 250GB/month data limit.) Adding insult to this already significant injury, $19.95 is only the promotional price. After a year, the "standard rate applies unless canceled by customer." The letter doesn't bother to explain what the "standard rate" actually is. Visiting AT&T's U-Verse website is, if anything, more amazing than reading this letter. The website says that, for my home, AT&T would prefer to bill me a shocking $28/month for 768kbps Internet, making the $19.95 a "discount" if certainly not a "deal." Of course, it's all a ploy. The real plan is to use the lowest possible price to get you to investigate U-Verse and then sign up for a higher priced tier. How else can you explain the fact that U-Verse offers me almost 25x the speed for twice the price (18Mbps for $56/month)? In a nutshell, the AT&T offer represents everything that's too often wrong with American broadband: high prices, modest speeds, extra fees, and time commitments (I know first hand Comcast has many of the same issues). To see what's truly possible, compare these abysmal speeds and prices to those available from three different providers who are building new fiber networks to avoid incumbents: Google Fiber: $70/month (1Gbps, no construction fee) City of Seattle: $80/month (1Gbps, one year contract required, no install charge) City of Chattanooga, TN: $70/month (100Mbps, some additional fees) 768kbps is so slow that Google and the City of Seattle both offer (much faster) 5Mbps connections for free. Chattanooga doesn't even offer service under 50Mbps. But apparently, in my town, this is still "high speed Internet." Update: A reader points out that Google Fiber's free tier requires a one-time $300 fee to bring the fiber drop to your house, so it's not completely free (though the fee doesn't appear to be charged to any future users of the service at that location)."