Time Warner’s internet service has been flaky at best at my house lately, despite swapping out the modem. So I figured I’d see if AT&T would give me data-only u-verse. They will, and when I started asking about additional fees, the conversation took a sharp weird turn.

Delilah: Thank you for using AT&T! How can I help you today?
you: looking for info on data service.
you: need 1Mbps or higher upstream, 10Mbps downstream
Delilah: Yes, we offer up to 18 Mbps, if you are not ordering the TV service, then we do have an installation fee.
you: what’s the pricing for 12/1.5 ?
Delilah: There is a learn more blue tab on U-verse page. (note: it’s ORANGE)
Delilah: Please click to view speeds and pricing, the installation is $149.
you: what am I clicking on?
Delilah: click on build your own bundle.
you: all the tabs on the page are orange.
Delilah: Build your own bundle first.
Delilah: Then you will see Uverse internet
you: i just see packages
Delilah: Besides the internet
Delilah: Do you see where it says Max 18
You: so if I were to get 6/1, what would it cost me?
Delilah: The Elite is $35 a month.
You: what else would I be paying? (was asking about fees, this is where it got interesting…)
Delilah: Just the installation fee, this is a wireless service, no modem needed.
you: uh… wireless???
Delilah: Taxes and fees are less than $6
you: I thought this was DSL
you: I don’t think I’ll be able to get an antenna put on my roof
Delilah: Wireless internet
Delilah: It is through the phone line, yes,
Delilah: You do not need one.
you: is it wireless, or does it use DSL over the phone lines?
Delilah: It is brand new technology, (uh-oh… stand by for clueless marketing BS…)
Delilah: A fiber optic line that runs through your phone line. (wait, WHAT???)
you: well, I don’t have fiber running to my home, just copper
Delilah: Did you check on availability?
Delilah: Our technicians run the wire.
Delilah: As long as it is available at your address,,
you: yes, u-verse was built out in my neighborhood 3 years ago, I remember it well, as you guys left a gaping hole in my front yard for 8 months. (it took me several calls to AT&T, before I found someone who cared enough to inform the contractor that they’d forgotten to fill it back up after redoing the splice. You can see it on Bing Maps Bird’s Eye View. The grass still isn’t quite right)
you: but there’s no fiber here.
you: the technicians told me this was DSL-based technology.
Delilah: I am sorry, I am a bit confused, are you wanting just regular DSL?
you: i need internet service. But there’s no fiber running to my house. (and if there was, 18/1 would be pathetically slow)
Delilah: Would you like a link to check on DSL at your home?
Delilah: There is no need for a wire of anykind.
you: if there’s no need for wire of any kind, how does it get to my house without an antenna on the roof?
Delilah: DSL has never needed an antenna.
Delilah: It runs through the phone line.
you: that’s a wire.
Delilah: It is already there.
you: yes, but that’s not “wireless”
Delilah: You get a wireless modem if you like.
Delilah: You can get signals up to 250 ft.
Delilah: There is no antenna at all.
Delilah: No antenna.
Delilah: The days of antennas are over.
Delilah: Fiber optic lines that run through the phone.
you: then how do you get the signal to my house wirelessly?
Delilah: I am sorry you do not  understand, would you like to call in?
Delilah: Through your phone line.
you: then it’s not wireless.
Delilah: You get a wireless  modem.
you: why would I need a wireless modem, since it comes through the phone lines
Delilah: Since I cannot assist you any further, this chat will now close. Thank for chatting with AT&T.
Thank you for chatting with AT&T today. Have a great day.

OK, I know what she meant, but she’s doing a lousy job of selling the product, since she seems to have a tenuous grasp on what this is in the first place. I don’t think I’ll be getting internet from them anytime soon. At least I can get it without TV now… although I think I’d be better off getting the TV service for 3 months instead of the $150 install fee.

Let’s make this clear, AT&T. U-Verse is NOT a fiber-to-the-home service. It’s a high-speed DSL service (54Mbit) that goes to a fiber-fed node in the neighborhood within the wire limits of the DSL Technology. I know Verizon’s cleaning your clock with FTTH right now, but stop misrepresenting copper-based DSL services as fiber. It just ain’t true. By your definition DSL service has been “fiber” for years in every CO that’s fed by an OC link.

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