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AT&T ISP Review & Reader Survey Results

Overall: 2 ½ Stars

Judging by our readers' responses, AT&T offers middle-of-the-road performance at average access prices with decent reliability and customer service. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that our readers gave it a middle-of-the-road overall score of 2 ½ (2.57) stars out of five, which is close to the actual average of each category.

"AT&T's network is very reliable and reasonably priced, though it won't set any speed records any time soon," said one respondent, who summed up our findings brilliantly. AT&T isn't the fastest Internet access out there. However, it is more widely available than competing broadband companies in a significant number of regions of the country.

As a result of that, many readers indicated a lack of other options, sounding despondent and accepting of less-than-spectacular speeds, support and pricing.

"[I have] slow upload speeds despite the plan, pricing is a bit high compared to other ISPs and support isn't always the best, but it's the only one in my area," said one AT&T customer, who gave the company decently high marks (all but performance was rated three stars or more) despite the dissatisfied tone of the comment.

Our overall survey results for AT&T show a split decision with our readers, with some praising the service in all facets and others detesting their ISP, and still others who feel the company shines in some aspects but could use work in some others. At 2 ½ stars, we seem to have a decent example of a company that does "OK" by its customers, with as many negatives weighing against positives, balancing the proverbial scale evenly.

Conclusion

Our survey provided a lot a useful data on what our readers thought about AT&T's Internet services. It should not be taken for more than it is: a reader survey with a pool of 271 helpful participants that provided a small snapshot of what our community currently thinks about AT&T's Internet service. Here are the full results of the survey, with each category labeled with the results of the most and least important factors when deciding on an ISP, according to the surveyed readers (one being most important, four being the least):

Performance (4)Price (2)Reliability (3)Support (1)Overall
★★ ½ (2.54)★★ ¼ (2.32)★★★ ¼ (3.17)★★ ¾ (2.79)★★ ½ (2.57)

A big thanks goes out to everyone who participated in our survey. Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below, and be sure to check out our next ISP review, which will take a look at one of the largest cable Internet providers in the country, with the most number of our readers responding to the survey: Comcast.

Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware. Follow him on Twitter.

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Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • jasonelmore
    I wish you guys would do ratings for the Other 3 DSL companies like Windstream and CenturyLink..

    Those 2 companies are the absolute worst broadband companies in the world. All DSL plans in my area are restricted to 1 Mbps because of over selling, and no upgrades are planned to ever increase these speeds.
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    I don't understand why the article states that it's impossible to measure downtime. My modem is pinged a couple of times a minute from multiple locations, all located on major backbones. This data, compiled, gives an excellent real-world representation of overall connection uptime and performance.

    Of course, it's overkill when first-hop pings exceed 300ms with 3% or more packet loss every night from 6PM to midnight or whenever demand goes up. The Windstream DSL service simply isn't engineered to support its users simultaneously.
    Reply
  • cohetedor
    Your pricing unbundled is way off on 6mbps DSL. I'm in MI and have to pay $57 a month. And Uverse starts as slow as 768k, I know because they tried to cut my regular DSL off last January and 768k was the fastest they could offer me.
    Reply
  • Kridian
    16986855 said:
    I'm in MI and have to pay $57 a month. And Uverse starts as slow as 768k, I know because they tried to cut my regular DSL off last January and 768k was the fastest they could offer me.
    Dear lord! My condolences.

    Reply
  • dorsai
    There is no better argument for municipal broadband projects in my opinion...these survey's make one thing clear...unless they are pushed by competition ISP's will not improve their service. Any speed below 15mbps in this day and age does not even qualify to be called "broadband". States should be pushing all of the companies offering anything below 15mbps speeds to upgrade their networks since they are suffering negative economic impacts by allowing the status quo...
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    I participated in this survey last month, so I'm glad to see the results. My two biggest complaints were outages (while relatively quick, still a PITA, especially when gaming online and recording on the DVR) and lower than what my speed should be that I'm paying for. The good news is that my city is one of the markets that will get ATT's gigabit fiber. I had Comcast in my previous home and while it was more expensive and the customer service was horrid, it was also faster for the same price tier and there were next to zero outages.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    It's strange how this varies so wildly from my experience. I have had ZERO downtime in the past two years, I'm paying for 12mbps and I'm getting 15, and customer service has always been friendly and helpful. My bill went up after a year, and literally all I had to do was call and ask "Can you give me a discount?" and then my price went back down to normal. I'm very satisfied with U-Verse.
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    All DSL plans in my area are restricted to 1 Mbps because of over selling, and no upgrades are planned to ever increase these speeds.
    It's worse here. My neighbor, further from the DSLAM than I am, pays less for 6mb/s than I pay for 1mb/s and because his CO pin is hooked up to a less congested set of tspans than mine, his service is better. Meanwhile, I can't even get them to make a QOS filter setup so that my low-bandwidth, latency sensitive functions (eg, ssh and telnet to work) can function.

    I won't even be able to load bandwidth-heavy webpages (like Amazon, which is about 3MB/24mb per load and will give 404 blank pages if any of the connections stall) to shop from home during Black Friday/Cyber Monday until after midnight.
    Reply
  • Teamchaos
    I had AT&T DSL 18Mb/s for a few years. I never got more than 10-12Mb/s. Eventually I switched to Charter and now I enjoy 100Mb/s bandwidth that consistently exceeds what I'm paying for (typically 102Mb/s). AT&T may be reliable, but it's sloooow. My house is near the end of their line in my neighborhood and I'm sure that was a factor, but still shouldn't have had to pay for more than I received.
    Reply
  • ummduh
    I had the 45Mbps plan here in Napa, CA. I was usually able to get the rated speeds, but VERY often I could not stream anything more than 240 in youtube, and often Netflix wouldn't load in HD. Also, the pings were pretty bad, in the 60-90MS range. (speedtest.net tests) I'm talking literally every weekday after 3pm, and every weekend you couldn't use youtube. Netflix was more hit and miss.

    We ditched cable/tv service all together and switched to comcast 150Mbps service against my own will. Pings in the 10-16MS range (plus speedtests out to 18xMbps regularly), and haven't had any problems with youtube/netflix bufferings or loading in their highest resolutions and bitrates.
    Reply