One of the best internet providers in the United States, AT&T has not the largest availability of the market, but the fiber services expansion is very good news
Available in 21 states in the country, AT&T internet is one of the best services in the United States.
The company’s fiber coverage is each time more available, it has plans up to 940 Mbps, relatively affordable prices, and covers much of urban areas. And it also has a TV and mobile services, and we can say for sure it is one of the top internet providers in the US.
Compared with some competitors, the start price for AT&T plans is $ 35, meanwhile Cox and Spectrum, for example, are more expensive.
As it has fiber internet, it means not only the company can offer fast download speed, but an upload speed just as fast —which does not happen with cable or DSL internet.
So let’s take a break to understand the importance of good fiber coverage and why you need to know it before choosing your internet plan.
Fiber vs Cable
The cable transmission is almost everywhere in the country. Or, at least, in every big city. But it is older than fiber and, therefore, slower.
Fiber cables transmit internet signals through wires made with glass, which is a much faster, more steady technology and can also support more data at the same time —in other words, more download and upload speed.
On the other hand, traditional cables are more prone to corrosion, for example. Also, as it has been out there for some time now, its materials have aged and do not work so well as before.
However, as fiber is newer, it also is not available everywhere. All providers are each day expanding their fiber coverage to more and more locations, but it is not that easy to change a whole network of connections all through the United States.
The good news is that beginning in 2020, AT&T is deactivating its DSL services and expanding its fiber services to replace them.
DSL is an even older technology than cable. It uses phone lines to transmit internet signals.
Well, you got the logic, right? As it is older, it is slower but is available in more places.
The company plans to expand its fiber services to 90 major metropolitan areas in the country and get to more than 3 million houses.
Fiber plans are especially good for downloading a big amount of data, watching 4K streams and streaming live gameplay, for example.
As of today, AT&T is available in 21 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, not all of them have access to fiber plans. Take a look at the company’s website. There you can enter your ZIP code and check your coverage.
AT&T has competitive prices when compared to its competitors. For $ 35 you can have 100 Mbps fiber internet at your house, which is a very good download speed for regular day-to-day tasks, and if you do not have many devices connected at the same time.
However, this provider (as many others) does offer one-year contract deals. Does it mean that after one year you will be out of the internet? No, but it means that, after one year, the price will increase.
Be aware, as well, that some plans have limited data caps, which means you can only use a certain amount of data in a month without having to pay some extra money to keep watching that movie on a Sunday night.
Fiber plans, luckily, now come with unlimited data, so you can enjoy the movie without any worries.
One important thing to know is that AT & T does not let you use your own Wi-Fi and router equipment.
For many people, it will not make much of a difference, but if you are a gamer, a streamer or live in a big house, you might want to take a deeper look at it.
The importance of hardware
Mainly, our house internet works thanks to two devices: modem and router. They often come as one, but not always.
The modem is like a decoder: it translates the internet signal that comes into your house to data for your computer. And makes the reverse work as well.
The router is what transmits Wi-Fi signal to your device through the air, without the need of a cable —although cable connections are faster and more reliable.
But why is that important?
It is important because there are several modem and routers options to buy in the market.
Some devices do not support downloads over a certain speed or have a weaker Wi-Fi range.
So having the wrong device at your home can make your internet slower. Or, if you living in a big house, the signal might not get to some corners.
Also, there are devices made for specific uses, such as gaming or streaming. So, it is always nice to have the alternative to choose your own equipment in case you need it.
However, the company needs to offer you hardware that is capable of supporting the plan you have paid for —although it might not have the best Wi-Fi signal.
Also, when it comes to AT&T, the company imposes a $ 10 monthly fee to rent its required router —and remember, they do not allow you to buy your own.
The benefit of having the company’s equipment is that you can make use of its support for technical issues.
On the other hand, many “independent” hardware also come with guarantees and support for customers.
What to do if your internet is slow?
You might want to reach your provider’s support, but it might not be their fault.
First of all, take a speed test. They are online and will tell you, precisely, how much download and upload speed you are getting at your computer.
But we advise you to take the test while connected to an Ethernet cable.
As Wi-Fi signals are prone to interference from other waves or even from walls in your house, the Ethernet cable makes the internet come smoothly from your modem to your notebook.
In other words, it will not lose speed, while if your device is connected to your Wi-Fi but is far from the router or even if there is a metal object between them, it might slow your internet speed —so, one piece of advice is to make sure you have no objects between them because it can slow down your download.
But if you have a clear and close view of the router from your laptop or, even better, if they are connected through a cable, and even though your speed test comes out slower than it should, you have a problem.
There are a few things you can try to solve.
Actually, just rebooting your modem and router might resolve the problem. Just unplug it from its power source, count to ten, and plug it back in.
Also, change your password just in case, We never know when our neighbor might be using our Wi-Fi to watch movies, right?
Also, if the Wi-Fi signal is weaker in some room, try buying a mesh: a set of routers that work together to take the internet signals as far as they can.
But if you have a mesh, a clear path for the internet waves to travel, have rebooted your equipment and even with the Ethernet cable connected your download speed is not as fast as it should, then it is time to contact your provider support.
More about AT&T
AT&T is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world.
Its history dates back to the 19th, when Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Watson and Gardiner Greene Hubbard founded the Bell Telephone Company.
Actually, Bell is credited for having invented the telephone.
During the 20th century, the company (that has had a lot of different names since it was created and was controlled by many different people and groups since then) had the monopoly of phone services in the United States.
Things started to turn around when, in 1982, regulators broke the monopoly, dividing the company into several different companies, popularly known as “Baby Bells”.
Nowadays, AT&T owns much of its “babies”, four of seven, to be more precise, including the most important long-distance division, called AT&T Communications.
That is actually the company responsible not only for internet services, but also for mobile, telephone and home security services.
How it is today?
Today, AT&T is the largest telecommunications company in the world and the third largest when it comes to internet service providers.
In the United States, it serves 53 million houses and, of those, 14 million uses its fiber internet services.
Today, the company also owns the DirecTV satellite television service and, since 2018, also Time Warner, one of the most important entertainment companies in the world.
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