Our DSL and Cable customers in Alabama have a legitimate concern about their Internet access. We have heard from our customers that DSL subscribers in Alabama have been paying too much for too little. This is made all the more frustrating as those who are still on DSL watch neighbors in surrounding areas gain access to our new Lightwave fiber to the home service.
We hear you.
Over the last several months our engineering, customer service, and product teams have been working to improve DSL and Cable service and give our customers more for their money. It has been a lengthy process, but we’re pleased to report that we began upgrading connections in late January and should complete the process over the next 8 weeks.
So, what can you expect?
DSL has some significant technical limitations that we have to work around, so our strategy for providing more value for our customer’s money has to reflect that. As a result, there are a couple of different things that could happen for customers on a particular speed plan. What should happen is this:
|If you have this speed today:||We’ll give you this if we can.||If not, you’ll get this.|
|12M||25M+||10-20M at a lower price.|
|8M||10-20M||5-10M at a lower price.|
|4M||5-10M||Up to 5M at a lower price|
|1M||Up to 5M for the same price.|
It’s simpler for cable customers. When the project is complete, all cable customers should see improved speeds for the price they are paying today.
What’s with the Internet speed ranges?
DSL is distance-sensitive, and not everyone will get the same speed. A couple of years ago, we began offering minimum speeds instead of “up to” speeds in some markets. With this change in service, we’ll be doing the same thing in Alabama. As a result, our 10 Meg plan could provide anywhere from 10 – 20 Mbps, depending upon how close you are to our equipment. If you’re paying for 10 meg, we want you to get at least that – and preferably more.
What will I pay for Internet?
Prices vary based upon whether you have other services like phone service or TV from OTELCO and the package options you choose. Customers will get a letter from us explaining exactly what is changing with their service. We’ll also be posting the plans and pricing on our website in by February 15th. The bottom line is that no one will pay more, and no one will have slower service. Our goal is for everyone to get a better deal.
There’s more to upgrading Internet speed than flipping a switch
This project has been several months in preparation. OTELCO engineers had to first ensure that capacity was upgraded in several locations across our network, including Blountsville, Nectar, Jones Valley and other locations. We also installed improved monitoring systems so we could measure network utilization more accurately across the entire system. Lastly, we measured the current performance and potential performance of thousands of DSL modems across our network, so we could determine where speed upgrades were possible.
We know it’s not enough, but it’s a start. Across the entire network, the project team expects to give customers a 20% increase in speed and a reduction in prices of over $250,000 a year. We’re also continuing to build fiber in many locations throughout our networks in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Vermont.