Home » AT&T »Broadband Speed »Competition »Data Caps »Sonic.net » Currently Reading:

Independent Gigabit Broadband for San Francisco, While AT&T Struggles to Provide U-verse

Phillip Dampier December 15, 2011 AT&T, Broadband Speed, Competition, Data Caps, Sonic.net No Comments

While AT&T endures zoning-related delays to build out its fiber-to-the-neighborhood service U-verse, a scrappy anti-cap, pro-speed Internet provider in Santa Rosa has announced its intention to deliver gigabit speeds to San Franciscans over a fiber-to-the-home network that will begin construction early next year.

Sonic.net has been providing broadband services for years in northern California, using AT&T’s network of phone lines to deliver unlimited 20Mbps DSL service (including a phone line) for $40 a month.

Sunset District, San Francisco, Calif. (Courtesy: Stilfehler)

Now the company is branching beyond traditional DSL into fiber optics.  Sonic.net has already completed the first phase of its gigabit fiber network in Sebastopol, where it advertises 100Mbps service for $40 a month and 1000Mbps for $70 a month, both including phone service at no extra charge (two lines for the 1Gbps plan).

In San Francisco, Sonic plans to start with 2000 homes in the Sunset District, expanding its network to fully cover the city within five years.

Such a network could deliver serious competition to Comcast and AT&T, the currently-dominant providers.  AT&T’s U-verse buildout has been stalled over the need to install 768 large, unsightly metal cabinets on San Francisco street corners.  The company, as late as this summer, remains mired in zoning disputes and public protests.  Sonic’s fiber network will require similar equipment, and the San Francisco Chronicle reports Sonic filed its own application with the city Department of Public Works to install 188 cabinets, measuring 5 feet tall, starting next year.

Sonic may have a better chance if only because it does not have AT&T’s less-than-stellar reputation among some residents and customers who have been upset with the company’s wireless performance, and ongoing battles over cell tower placement.  Sonic.net CEO Dane Jasper tells the Chronicle:

“There is a huge demand in San Francisco for higher bandwidth services, and fiber is the only long-term way to meet this demand,” he said.

Given the fact that the company’s all-fiber network will bring “the fastest and cheapest” broadband service to the city, Jasper says he thinks the chances of overcoming the obstacles experienced by his larger rival are “pretty good.”

Sonic.net has gained a reputation for excellent customer service and vociferously opposes usage caps and other Internet Overcharging schemes.  The company has attracted the support of Google, which is using Sonic to manage its gigabit fiber network on the campus grounds of Stanford University in Palo Alto.

AT&T has previously dismissed fiber to the home service as too costly to provide, and has adopted in its place a fiber-to-the-neighborhood system that relies on traditional home phone wiring for the last part of its network.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Bob: I also got $1 increase for my 100/10 internet from Spectrum. A rep said it's for the speed increase that's coming in 2019. I complained that I was pro...
  • EJ: It makes sense to focus on wireless considering the government contract they have. The strange thing is they referenced fixed wireless in this article...
  • nick: Interesting how they conveniently leave out (Spectrum TV Choice) streaming service which is also $30/mo ($25/mo for the first 2 years)....
  • krichnercom: That's not the only way they are "fleecing the customers" if you leave them they will make it very difficult to return the equipment if your in a rura...
  • Mike: I have used Converter boxes since 2009 changeover. Yes I have gone through a few as some brands have heat issues, etc. but used boxes are found at Goo...
  • Dylan: They got to pay for that 5G somehow without demonstrating to Wallstreet that it will cost more than what they want it to cost. So you got to cut costs...
  • Aardvark: Is the loss of channels mostly in more rural areas? Anecdotally that would appear to be the case. Here in the NYC metro ...
  • Mick Allen: My first thought was that the folks who have lost reception should rescan their converter boxes. After giving it a little thought I decided to ask a ...
  • David: I'm in Temple City, CA (91780) & my rate went up $1 with my October statement. I only have their internet service (100 mbps). They never sent noti...
  • ADubb: I completely agree with the comment above. I go over my limit each month, have a few Nest cams and cloud back up devices on my home network. Something...
  • Paul Houle: I think AT&T is more interested in fixed wireless using low band spectrum in exurban areas. At my location Unlimitedville (AT&T) was able to ...
  • EJ: How about investing in some CAPEX. Identify and fix problem areas. O wait Spectrum don't need to do that. If I had to guess my bottom dollar I would b...

Your Account: