First impressions: New AT&T U-verse service

My triple play travails are at an end — at least for now. I’m now officially an AT&T customer and have cancelled my Comcast account.

As I wrote earlier this month, I decided to switch triple play providers, because I was unhappy with what I was paying for Comcast and found a better deal with AT&T. Setting up the new U-verse service took a bit longer than I expected — the AT&T technician was at my house for more than 5 hours today, mostly because the company had to install a new phone line to my house — but I’ve finally switched over.

I’ve just started to test the new service, but so far so good. For the most part, I’ve been impressed.

My download speeds are averaging around 17 megabits per second. That’s a little under the 18 megabits a second rate I signed up for and slower than the peak rates I saw on Comcast. But it’s plenty fast.

And the TV service, for the most part, is loads better than what I was getting with Comcast. I’m getting more channels for one thing. But the DVR is much easier to navigate. And I’m hopeful that because it can record up to four shows at a time I won’t run into the same problems I had with Comcast. Our Comcast DVR frequently would stop recording shows before they actually ended and would not record certain shows at all, ostensibly because they overlapped with other shows we wanted to record.

However, not all is great. I’ve already encountered two disappointments.

One is that the upload speeds with U-verse appear to be fairly slow — just 1.5 megabits a second. I expect that throughput to be really painful when I’m uploading photos to Facebook or videos to YouTube.

The other is that the DVR doesn’t appear to allow you to set up an ongoing recording with just a keyword. That’s too bad. I’m a big fan of the San Antonio Spurs, who are on the air in the Bay Area only infrequently. One way I’ve been able to catch most of those games is by having my DVR — first my Dish one, then my Comcast one — search for and record anything with “Spurs” in the description. I guess I’ll have to pay more attention to when the Spurs are on TV — or break down and subscribe to the NBA’s streaming video package.

Still, I don’t have any major regrets. I’m saving money. I only had to sign up for a one-year contract. And my low rate is locked in for two years. To me, those factors make this a good deal.

 

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  • http://siliconbeat.com Irv Halland

    Glad you’re happy with your AT&T service. You didn’t say what you paid for the package though. I’m not too happy with my package: local phone only and what they call high speed internet (1.1MHz down; 320 Khz up) costs me about $60/mo. which seems excessive. Is that sonic.net still available? If so, how do they underprice Ma Bell with better speeds especially since they use the phone line? The bottom line with all the providers is to get you on contract then slowly raise the rates as you renew. Kind of like boiling a live lobster, you know.

    • Homer Simpson

      Irv–sounds as if you’re comparing apples and oranges. My old AT&T DSL and POTS service were the same speeds and prices as what you’re paying. When I switched to U-verse it was like moving to a different planet. I’ve consistently gotten speeds as advertised (12mb/1.5mb), my VOIP and TV service are top notch. I’m locked in to a set rate but as for prices rising after that….well, that’s nothing new.

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  • themike

    I was wondering. Now that you have had it for over a month, how many techs have had to come back and repair something? Also, do you have an alarm system? did you call the alarm company to see if the alarm was actually working correctly? Lastly, was the install supposed to be free? check your bill. Was there a fee you dont understand in the first bill? The techs overbill customers to make efficiency numbers. The local managers also have the same matrix to make, so they allow it to happen unless there is some reason to check. Super techs are such because they do one or all three of the following:1. Say they worked less hours than they truly did,
    2. bill customers for cables run, walls fished, etc that they never did which adds time on to a job and makes it better for them to cut away from the fact it took 5 hours. being that the install times are drastically cut by managers who claim to have done so after riding around and changing them, all so they can squeeze in more installs, leading to greater bonuses for them…your 5 hour job needed to have around 7 tvs to have that amount of time alllowed without the tech having to have done some kind of cheat.
    3.Use special time codes that involve lying and saying the tech did training, so its subtracted from the work hour day.

    But USUALLY, its billing YOU that the managers allow in MASS. And YES they write up and try to fire some for it, but its those that are over 40, minorities, women, etc. And the union will allow this. WHY? because they work in fields that are being phased out, such as dial up phone lines. They are given the prem tech jobs (far far less in pay for prems)those slots have to be made available.
    The alarm system issue, is EXTREMELY common. The alarm will appear to arm, but if in panic mode, its not calling the service. Meaning, you have no security at all really. MANY MANY MNAY people are currently under this situation and dont know it. Because at&t is not giving the techs time to do jobs, and Awarding corner cutting. If under pressure, all they will do is fire and hurt workers, and throw a bone to them regarding time…BUT NEVER will they simply allow the time needed to do the job right. For example, if you have Quad wiring, youre not supposed to get uverse phone at all. But You will be hard pressed to find a person that didnt have it put in anyhow over quad. The phone sometimes drops out or wont show the caller ID due to interference.

    So I dont know what could be done. they wont act correctly, if they were busted and sued. they will instead see it as an opportunity to fire the poor, and look to make a profit at an even greater scale in some way, instead of doing the right thing. When you install with an alarm present, techs are supposed to wait till you test the alarm by you calling the company. THAT means a long time while the tech is on the clock…ticking. THATS the way it is truly supposed to be done. not close the job, and THEN have you test, because the idol time hurts the tech also. So you might be on the phone discussing a bill, or on hold, whatever…And if the install of voip (a 40 minute install, from dispatch to close) gets into a problem, THAT TECH is looking at bad numbers. Those techs at the lowest quintile of his peers gets on Improvement plans that are not easy to get off without cheating the system.

    SO CHECK YOUR BIL
    CHECK YOUR ALARM
    GO BACK TO COMCAST if you have a bunch of repairs due to corner cutting techs.

 
 
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