More confused thinking about broadband

AT&T Broadband is announcing a “high-speed” plan delivering 3 megabit per second download speeds for $83 per month, compared to 1.5 mbps (allegedly) with its existing cable modem service. Supposedly, the new plan is aimed at users “who have set up home networks, send or receive large files such as when downloading software or enjoy other bandwidth-intensive applications.” Most home networks are for 2-3 computers, where a shared 1.5 mbps is quite acceptable. And software downloading is just fine at 1.5 mbps, believe me.

What power users need is faster upload speeds, but the AT&T Broadband service only does 384 kbps in that direction. Going above 1.5 mbps is important for voice, music and video applications, or if you have many users sharing a connection (for example, via a WiFi access point). But AT&T isn’t thinking about those situations. Until high-speed service providers understand their customers, we won’t see much innovation in broadband services.