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  • FCC's Got A Point. Can AT&T Handle The iPad?

    It's an obvious question - even though it's an ugly one Apple may wish to ignore. Can AT&T accommodate the likely burdensome data demands of the iPad?

    While many of us wondered about this to ourselves, some folks at the FCC are now wondering the same thing aloud. A blog post by Phil Bellaria, director of the National Broadband Task Force at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission suggests that the governmental body may also doubt how much more the overextended AT&T network can handle.

    Of course, if speculation proves accurate that the iPhone won't jump ship in expansion to Verizon after all, the FCC might sound a full-blown red-alert regarding AT&T's ability to shoulder any more network demands.

    Apple’s iPad announcement has set off a new round of reports of networks overburdened by a data flow they were not built to handle.
    Although the iPad will most likely be available by the end of next month, let's not forget that these contraptions require approval by the FCC. If the FCC is worried (which the blog post suggests) the approval process may not go as smoothly as Apple would like, especially if the prospect of mobile networks crashing is now more of a probability than just a possibility.

    With the iPad pointing to even greater demand for mobile broadband on the horizon, we must ensure that network congestion doesn’t choke off a service that consumers clearly find so appealing or frustrate mobile broadband’s ability to keep us competitive in the global broadband economy.
    Sounds like the FCC is issuing a subtle challenge - and potential warning - to both Apple and AT&T. Yes, the iPad will be grand. But it's clear that the FCC won't let AT&T push itself to the brink without some form of possible intervention by the FCC first.

    Are we getting ahead of ourselves here? Maybe. But Bellaria made it perfectly clear that a modern "dial-up style congestion" simply won't be acceptable.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: FCC's Got A Point. Can AT&T Handle The iPad? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 32 Comments
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Quote Originally Posted by southfrisco View Post
      Well I have ATT with the iPhone 3G data plan. I am around broadband WiFi almost daily. I use my WiFi almost exclusively and hardly ever use the 3G with ATT as the WiFi connections that I am around are much faster.

      But this brings up a point. People who don't have ATT will most surely get WiFi only unless they absolutely know they have to have 3G. But those of us that already have ATT 3G data and pay $30/mo for an unlimited data package will probably not jump for another ATT "unlimited" data package for $29.99 regardless of no contract. I know they are two devices but I am not going to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. These carriers have to stop with the "unlimited" bs and start specifying these packages. It doesn't make sense to pay for two "unlimited" data packages. Unlimited should be unlimited no matter what device I use on their network. They are gouging customers as it stands now.
      It's unlimited data per device. This is fairly clear. If you went with unlimited minutes on a line, then made it a family plan, surely you don't expect unlimited minutes on every line you add to your plan? Or... maybe you do...

      What I think is BS is calling something unlimited and then capping you at 3 gigs data per month. Call it a 3 gig plan if you are going to do that...

      Quote Originally Posted by KartRacer View Post
      I average about 200k speeds max where I live, but yourtube maxes out at about 5k when I download a video. I get zero coverage on any state highway and interstates between here and Savannah, saw a serious wreck and it was a good thing I wasn't the only one around because I had absolutely no service for about a 10 mile stretch on that road. Going down to Hilton Head I get 2 bars max and no data very frequently. There isn't any 3G or reliable EDGE for 40 miles in any direction. AT&Ts network is a joke. I can't cancel my contract without the ridiculous fee and I had no clue it would be this bad when I lost my job and had to move here for employment. What's really damning about this area is that everywhere I go, Verizon has 5 bars of 3G covering every single square inch around here while AT&T can't give me even 4 bars reliably. I drop service at my place of work and around town on errands at least 15 times a day, and that's no a lie. The other two people I know in this town have the exact same problems and they don't have iPhones. AT&Ts network sucks, plain and simple.
      eBay your iPhone and use the money to pay contract cancellation fees. You will still end up on top. I have done it twice!
    1. johnr9412's Avatar
      johnr9412 -
      Kartracer you claim AT&T sucks because they don't cover your area?? Well where I live I have full bars and lightning fast 3g. All my pals with verizon though get NOTHING here. So just because AT&T doesn't work where you live doesn't mean they're a crappy network
    1. addictedto3gs's Avatar
      addictedto3gs -
      Just imagine flying the A.R. Drone using the iPad lol
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnr9412 View Post
      Kartracer you claim AT&T sucks because they don't cover your area?? Well where I live I have full bars and lightning fast 3g. All my pals with verizon though get NOTHING here. So just because AT&T doesn't work where you live doesn't mean they're a crappy network
      No, they do cover my area. But they keep telling me on the phone I live in a 'good' coverage area and it's a complete lie. Then they get on TV, hire some fatfaced actor to explain how their 3G experience is better than Verizons and I don't even get 3G. How is that a better experience when everywhere that you get a signal with Verizon they have the capability to provide 3G? Glad to hear you have blazing fast 3G, I envy you and every other person that does. When I lived in Atlanta and Columbus Ga, I too had blazing 3G and outstanding coverage. But when I drive to work here in Beaufort SC, get to work, drive to Savannah (40ish miles), drive to Charleston SC (60+ miles), drive towards Bluffton (20+ miles), and sit in my apartment on the outside top section of the building I get really ****** coverage. THEY SUCK. When you have ****** coverage over the amount of square miles I just mentioned, you have a crappy network. I've driven from coast to coast, Atlanta to San Diego 6 times in the past 5 years, and with AT&T if you aren't in a major city or within the suburbs or 40 miles or so from one, you get **** for coverage. Period. That's the truth, not an anecdote. Their own maps and customer service reps will back that up. I drop data and voice connections at least 15 times a day, no ********. Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile don't have one sibgle problem here. AT&T does. That's perfect proof of a crappy network, end of story.

      I can't sell my iPhone on eBay because the screen is shattered, still works but it's shattered. I can't get rid of the phone and get a different phone because of the contract I signed. The one where I pay them for service, and they are supposed to provide me. They can breach that contact at will, and they do. But God forbid I don't pay my bill to reflect the quality of my service. I'm going to keep my phone and provider because my whole family has AT&T and I can't get a cheap enough plan to not burn through minutes talking to them. Plus the iPhone is so much better than anything on the market, I want to keep it. So I guess I'm ******** for no reason.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vathgol View Post
      Man you listed all these places where you go....
      thats called BUM Fu(K egypt....Of course its not gonna work.. you're driving in no mans land where rednecks and ppl with horse and carriage still roam....

      When you said Atlanta and Columbus (city and HIGHLY populated areas) yea it worked great... The cell phone company doesnt move when you move.... you made that choice so dont bit(h to them about coverage when you're in some hill billy rock and farm land country...

      Sounds like you need a CB radio...Just because you signed a contract and YOU move doesnt make the company liable for service just bc you move.... you may want to reread your contract bc it CLEARLY states and this goes with EVERY SINGLE WIRLESS COMPANY.



      You're about a racist f u c k i n g dickhead. I moved here because I was laid off from my job. You know this economy thing? Went into the shitter because of the last 15 years or so? I didn't choose to move here, I had to because you can't really eat without paying for it. Maybe since you steal Microsoft software, you even boasted about having a utility that would removed the genuine checking file, you live off your mom or some ****. I don't have the luxury of having someone pay for me to stay in clothing and food, so I moved so I could have running water and electricity. I don't live of the state, I don't abuse ******* welfare, and I don't have ten kids living on food stamps. And the east coasts 4th largest port, Savannah isn't really 'the sticks', and no one rides around in a horse and buggy. Charleston is about to be the only other location that Boeing has a plant other than the one in Washington. So people are going to move here for that employment opportunity and AT&Ts coverage literally drops to almost nothing when you hit the city limits signs. I've watched my phone go from blazing 5 bars of 3G to one bar of EDGE in a matter of half a mile. I live in a city that's been here since the mid 1800's and has a major Marine Corps Air Station in that city. Not the sticks. And service may not be available doesn't apply here, they continually tell me I'm in a good area, and they are lying.

      And your stupid *** proves my point, they can boast about how much better they are than Verizon, but as soon as you go outside a city with high population it's garbage.
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      ^I can see you're nothing more than a petty thief. Removing software to circumvent their ability to see if you've purchased their software smacks of theft. I don't understand your beef with Microsoft, they don't even deny updates to a pirated copy of Windows 7. Besides, they're no worse than Apple at anything they do anyway. Both suck. The only reasons to 'hack' a 360 is to play copied games or cheat online. It has nothing to do with consumer rights/bad corporations. I don't agree with what either Apple or Microsoft do on everything, but that's no reason to steal from them. And it seems after all your insults and grandstanding, you agree with my assessment that AT&T has crappy coverage. It's a fact, plain and simple.

      I don't understand how the iPad can make such a huge impact. Don't they already have a boatload of wireless connect cards in circulation anyway? Between all the iPhones, wireless connect cards, and other smartphones the iPad deserves no more attention than all the other devices clogging their networks. Yeah the iPad will make it worse, but not enough for the FCC to be 3 years late to fixing AT&Ts crappy coverage. And I don't believe that AT&T is spending all that money they say on wireless networks alone, they have to be spending it company wide. And from me using the speedtest app, even in a heavily wooded area in a busy part of Atlanta the speeds were faster than my parents DSL my a long way. So northeast Atlanta should be good.
    1. justsun's Avatar
      justsun -
      That's the part I don't understand about all this - why do the broadband cards never come in to conversation? I currently do not have one but I do know many non iPhone users who use them like crazy.
      Give AT&T a bit of credit. Don't forget we are leapfrogging the historical rate of cellular growth. It wasn't very long ago when a RAZR was the best devise money could buy.

      Let the corporate capitalists sniff the earning potential and we will soon see great advancements.

      Btw AT&T service has drastically improved in San Diego to beyond satisfactory in the last 6 months.

      The unlimited 3g plan should be associated with each devise - to suppliment please create bundle plan for loyal customers that reduce the overall cost. Reducing the cellular taxes would really help also...
    1. addictedto3gs's Avatar
      addictedto3gs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vathgol View Post
      To all you who are speaking about paying for 2 data plans.. NO YOU"RE not gonna pay for 2 data plans...

      If and should you decide to get an Ipad thats a new and separate device.. it is NOT the same as your iphone. So should you want to use the 3G service which the iPad has a sim card slot you can either
      a) take your sim card out of your iPhone and place it in the iPad
      b) get a totally new sim card with service in which you WILL be paying for 2 data plans bc they are different devices.. The comment about price gouging is absurd. Its two devices two separate plans..

      Simply put if you dont want to pay for another data plan then the ipad Wi-Fi is for you.. but for those that dont mind paying for the added 3G then the ipad is for you.

      Theres no alternatives.. So no need to make something out of nothing especially if you dont know what you're talking about

      "stupid is as stupid does and a lot of stupid is sure doing the does"
      No offense but you are an idiot. First off you can't even use the same SIM card as the iPad uses a micro sim. Secondly, maybe you can cut the sim card down to work as a micro sim but what are you going to do when you need to put it back in your iPhone??? Try to read the specs on the device you are trying to debate about before you try to take a stand on something. Unless someone comes out with a micro sim adapter tray to replace the factory sim card tray, there's no way to use the cut up sim in the iPhone.

      ***edit: also you could use MiFi to extend your network to the iPad but then your iPhone is wasting power trying to run the WAP.
    1. rhekt's Avatar
      rhekt -
      its a good question
    1. Frostbite's Avatar
      Frostbite -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnr9412 View Post
      Well where I live I have full bars and lightning fast 3g.
      Thats nice, but it still doesnt change the fact that verizons network is far better than AT&Ts and AT&T still has horrible 3g coverage for most of America, so I am happy that you are lucky enough to receive service, but for most others, like kartracer and I, AT&T is so bad that the iphone is simply not an option.
    1. vampr's Avatar
      vampr -
      I have been with AT&T for years and have never got what all the complaining was about until just recently.
      Only in the last month or so have I been overwhelmed by dropped calls and no service. I even have to turn off 3G and go with Edge on a semi-regular basis just to be able to send/receive text or emails...in fact I regularly am asked by the physicians in the hospitals what is wrong with their iPhones and have to show them the same work around. I am in the Phoenix area and I really hope that AT&T is updating the network or something of this nature to cause these problems...if this is a sign of the future you can count me out of anything beyond my 3Gs if it remains exclusive to AT&T!
      iPad=worthless drain of dwindling network resources
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      They say I'm in a good coverage area....................yeah....................ri ght. Same location in all three tests, outside my place of employment during a smoke break. Broad daylight, rebooted in between every test so I know it had a fresh connection to the tower, and one I waited until it had 5 bars (very rare and intermittent data connection even with 5) to test. As you can see AT&T is so full of **** Luke Wilson is about to explode. Even joked to a friend of mine to hang up his phone so I'd get the best conditions possible. Remember this is a 'good coverage area that should have no problems' according to AT&T.