Is AT&T Line-Bonded VDSL Finally Ready?

SeanM402's picture
Formally the Appleton area, now living in the Wausau area

Is AT&T Line-Bonded VDSL Finally Ready?
Users looking forward to extended U-Verse reach
02:07PM Tuesday Apr 13 2010 by Karl Bode

AT&T's decision to run FTTN instead of FTTH has remained a sticking point, with AT&T's top U-Verse speed (after video) sitting at 24Mbps downstream for customers within range. While that speed's nothing to laugh at, it's quickly being overshadowed by Comcast deployment of 50Mbps DOCSIS 3.0, which is now available in more than 80% of Comcast markets (with 100 Mbps to come). Pair bonded VDSL will be AT&T's retort, with AT&T enlisting a second copper pair to each house to increase U-Verse's maximum delivery range and speeds.

AT&T says they should be able to double the bandwidth they're currently delivering, though other estimates peg the speed bump at closer to 25-30%. Note that this additional bandwidth might wind up being assigned to HD video, and not necessarily broadband speeds. To offer bonded VDSL, AT&T needs to assign two DSLAM ports to each customer, and deploy a special residential gateway outside the house that can terminate two pairs -- assuming they're available.

An AT&T U-Verse user from Connecticut posts to our forums to say he was told by an AT&T rep that pair bonding is now available. Previously out of range for service at 3,600 feet, the user claims he's being told he's now in range:
I live 3,600 ft from a VRAD in Guilford, CT (2,600 ft to our mailbox plus 1,000 feet of driveway) and tried to get Uverse a year ago but was told that I was too far away for service. I received a flier in my mail box yesterday saying we could get service. so I contacted the rep. today who came over to sign us up. I told her of our experience a year ago and that the only way Uverse could be available is via pair bonding. She told me that our VRAD had been updated with pair bonding and that even those customers in the 'RED' zones were now able to be provisioned. She said she would contact me tomorrow (Sun.) with an installation time/date.

This could just be a case of a confused representative, so we've dropped a line to AT&T to check. Even if a false alarm, hardware development problems that have plagued bonded VDSL have been resolved, and the technology should be on the way before long. That's good news for many AT&T customers. Some U-Verse customer gateways sync at 100Mbps, but at 1,400 feet from the DSLAM. 25Mbps sometime works well at distances of 3,000 feet, but issues arise for many customers out further than that. While certainly no FTTH, bonded VDSL will bring U-Verse to a lot of currently unserved customers.

Posted April 14, 2010 10:07am in

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