April 26, 2006 11:12 AM PDT

AT&T boosts DSL speeds, adds new services

AT&T has increased the speed of its broadband service and has struck deals with Starz Entertainment to offer a new video download service and with Yahoo to offer Internet telephony.

On Wednesday, AT&T announced a faster DSL (digital subscriber line) service that boosts downstream speeds to between 3mbps (megabits per second) and 6mbps and upstream speeds to between 384kbps (kilobits per second) and 768kbps for $27.99 per month for customers who sign up online for a 12-month contract.

AT&T currently offers two slower tiers of service. New customers who sign a one-year contract can get 1.5mbps downloads and 384kbps uploads for $12.99 and 3mbps downloads and 416kbps uploads for $17.99.

The new, faster-speed service is geared toward customers who want to do more than check e-mail and surf the Web. It's designed for downloading movies, playing interactive online games, or sending large files such as photos and video clips, the company said.

AT&T also announced that it will be offering consumers co-branded services with partners Starz Entertainment Group and Yahoo.

AT&T's faster service and new partnerships come as the company faces increased competition from cable operators, which are adding voice to their package of services. To fight this competition, AT&T is upgrading its network to deliver a TV service based on Internet Protocol. But in the meantime, the company is trying to differentiate its existing services by adding new applications.

Through its partnership with Starz, AT&T will offer a video download service called Vongo, which allows consumers to download movies and other video content over the Internet and play it back on any Windows-based PC, laptop or portable media devices, as well as on TVs. The service costs $9.99 and offers subscribers unlimited access to more than 1,500 movies and video selections as well as the Starz TV channel. Pay-per-view titles are available for $3.99 per movie. Subscribers will be allowed to download video onto three devices, allowing for multiple viewing options.

Starz launched the Vongo service back in January and currently offers it directly to any broadband customer on its Web site. Now AT&T subscribers can also sign up for the service on the AT&T and Starz co-branded Web site or from the AT&T Worldnet portal. AT&T said it is not charging Starz a special fee to deliver the video service to its customers, which should help ease concerns from Net neutrality supporters.

AT&T also sells a TV service called Homezone, a cross between a satellite TV service and IPTV, that offers consumers a set-top box that gets satellite TV programming from Dish Network and connects to a digital subscriber line to offer Internet-based services from providers such as Akimbo. In parts of its territory where AT&T's Project Lightspeed network is being built, consumers will eventually be able to subscribe to an IPTV service called U-verse.

AT&T also said Wednesday that it has expanded its relationship with Yahoo by offering its DSL customers Yahoo's new instant-messenger service with voice. This will allow consumers to make free PC-to-PC phone calls and inexpensive calls from their PC to regular phones.

Calls within the U.S. and to more than 30 other countries can be made for 2 cents a minute or less, according to Yahoo. U.S. consumers can also pay $2.99 a month or $29.90 a year to use the Phone In feature, which allows people to receive calls on their PC from traditional and mobile phones.

See more CNET content tagged:
Starz, AT&T Corp., Starz Vongo, DSL, IP television

6 comments

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One deal that they've struck, that wasn't mentioned..............
To route all of your internet and voice traffic through the governments databases!
Posted by ScullyB (47 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Speed----What is it?
All this talk & offers made by Providers of various speeds. Is it all ********? Are the primary providers provinding a service & then both they & their re-sellers just restricting the speed to various levels in order to be able to offer various speeds as part of various promotional packages?
Posted by davidvh2 (10 comments )
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no brainer
Well, duh! Its called tiered service. For instance, most cable companies offer 2 to 3 speeds. Cox in Oklahoma offers 2 mainstream packages, 4 Mb/s down/512k up for 39.99 and 9 Mb/s down/1 Mb/s up for 54.95. They have a smaller package but I'm not sure on the details of it (never looked into it). ALL ISP's that offer broadband do this. What I dont get is what is your arguement?? That there should be 1 speed and thats it? Where is the choice in that?
Posted by tanis143 (122 comments )
Link Flag
Availability
All this and they still can't provide any broadband in my location ... about 5 minutes from a small city in the middle of the Northeast in the middle of the state!

I don't want features.. I want ACCESS!
Posted by dragonbite (452 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Frist Proof of Network Neutrality Issue
I have been using the Vongo service since Feb06 and it has
worked great with 500-600kb/sec speeds and I have enjoyed it
until I ran out of movies I wanted to watch. Now I am
downloading a movie from Vongo at 159kb/sec. What has
changed??? My contract has not changed but the quality of the
service appears to have declined since the introduction of the
higher or premium service for video. Should I be getting a
service that is not as good as it used to be just because AT&T
wants to make more money? I think they should make more
money if they introduce a new service with new equipment and
not a new service with the same equipment to the disadvantage
of those who had previous service! I will be up to you to decide
and determine but I am not happy of this change. NickB
Posted by NickCB (1 comment )
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