The age of landline phones and DSL is coming to a close as more telecom companies move away from legacy copper networks. AT&T plans to shutter around half its copper network by 2025, offering customers voice over internet protocols (VOIP), or phone over the internet. AT&T customers can keep their DSL for now, but the company is starting to push alternatives to get them to switch.
Providers like AT&T want to shutdown their older copper networks so they can focus on fiber. This move in the long run will help the telecom companies save money by running off of a more efficient network. Consumers, meanwhile, stand to benefit from better access to faster internet service, with the increased fiber infrastructure also potentially helping with 5G cellular coverage too.
For some consumers, there are a growing number of home internet options like 5G wireless, fiber, cable and satellite. But gone is a traditional telephone service, especially since US telecom companies are no longer required to provide copper landline services. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a home phone anymore, you just need to find a company that offers digital home phone options like Ooma. The telecom and cable providers all bundle voice too, but that’s a web-based service.
Fiber isn’t everywhere. In those areas, 5G home internet services are increasingly filling the gap. AT&T is rolling out Internet Air, its 5G home internet service, which will provide DSL customers with faster service without having to replace copper lines. Last year, analysts said killing off copper lines could be detrimental to AT&T since the carrier has the largest fixed footprint, a significant advantage over its competitors. Internet Air could be the answer.
AT&T Internet Air boasts download speeds from 40-140 Mbps and upload speeds from 5-25 Mbps. The service will cost $55 a month with a 7-day free trial and no long-term contracts. Customers eligible through the Affordable Connectivity Program will save an extra $30 on their bill. Internet Air also provides an All-Fi Hub for free so customers don’t have to return their existing DSL hardware. The service pairs with the Smart Home Manager app so customers can manage their home Wi-Fi network and uses AT&T ActiveArmor to protect against malware threats.
AT&T is new to the 5G home internet market, with its service launching this summer. Competitor carriers T-Mobile (as well as its prepaid arm Metro) and Verizon already offer similar deals and have been offering their services for years.
T-Mobile’s 5G Home Internet costs starts at $30 a month and offers a 15-day free trial as well as no annual contract or equipment fee. The carrier is also launching two new home internet devices this year — the Arcadyan TMOG4AR and the Sercomm TMOG4SE — which build off the predecessor modem models for more reliable connections and faster speeds. Cord Cutters News tested out the service in June — our test regularly yielded over 100-200 Mbps download speeds.
Verizon’s 5G Home Internet plans start at $35 a month with no annual contracts or equipment charges. Like T-Mobile, Verizon also plans to boost its service with a new gateway that supports WiFi 6E and Tri-Band for faster internet.
If you are a DSL customer you may want to start looking at your options. You may be surprised to find you have faster internet options that may even be cheaper.