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AT&T's City-By-City Plan To Up Wireless Coverage 158

Posted by kdawson
from the hockey-stick-gone-vertical dept.
alphadogg writes "AT&T has created different mobile calling models for every major city in America as it tries to improve a network that has come under fire for poor performance as the data-friendly iPhone has proliferated, an executive said Thursday. Other carriers just use one nationwide calling model to plan for all cities, claimed CTO John Donovan, speaking at the Open Mobile Summit conference in San Francisco. The nation's second-largest mobile operator has had a hard time planning for bandwidth needs in the rapidly changing mobile world, Donovan said. AT&T has seen rapidly growing mobile data usage — and much criticism over its 3G coverage — as the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US. 'If a network is not fully loaded, it's hard to know exactly how much demand is out there,' Donovan said. 'You put all you can in the ground, and they eat it all up, and then you put more in there, and they eat it all up.'" The story notes that mobile data at AT&T has grown 4,932% over the last 3 years.
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AT&T's City-By-City Plan To Up Wireless Coverage

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  • Umm, what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by lalena (1221394) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:27PM (#30007064) Homepage

    If a network is not fully loaded, it's hard to know exactly how much demand is out there.

    • Re:Umm, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mewsenews (251487) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:30PM (#30007098) Homepage

      Yeah, from the rest of his comment it seems he meant the exact opposite.

      "If the network *is* fully loaded, it's hard to know the demand, because you have 100% usage, add more capacity, and quickly hit 100% usage"

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by AmiMoJo (196126)

        The argument still doesn't make sense. They know they need more bandwidth because their network is constantly at 100%. The only thing to do is add more bandwidth. The only question is "do I spend a little and add 100% extra or do I spend a lot and add 1000% extra?" Since the past three years have seen over 4000% growth and more smartphones which make heavy use of data services are coming out all the time it seems reasonable to expect that 100% is probably not going to be enough.

        Even if you find your 1000% e

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by postbigbang (761081)

          It's a telco monopolist mentality.

          Gosh, we build, then it's at capacity. That's not what we had with landlines!

          Remember: this isn't the AT&T of old, with wizened scholars. This is Southwest Bell that sucked up the other Baby Bells, then chose GSM as their infrastructure and got in over their heads. They're still clueless as to what success they've had as a result of Apple's business models. Apple, OTOH, could have 5x the customers if they simply shipped a (w)CDMA/GSM world phone.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        He means that if all of the customers have not been signed up. He does not mean that all of the bandwidth is used up. You have to understand that he is speaking from a sales point of view, not a network admin's point of view.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      That's what I thought too, but I think it's poorly worded. I think he means, if we haven't fully loaded our towers with equipment and they're still maxed out, it's hard to know how much demand is out there.

      Still a cop out.
    • !not
    • If a network is not fully loaded, it's hard to know exactly how much demand is out there.

      Remember, ISPs (of which AT&T is one) take a bet that their users will never use 100% of their paid for bandwidth.
      Thus they base the network capacity on the usage demand, and try to provision only as much as they absolutely have to.
      This is why ISPs hate Net Neutrality - b/c they wouldn't be able to continue playing these games and get away with it.
      In this light, where demand determines how much actually gets provisioned, it makes sense. If max demand is 100, but only represents 10% of paid for demand

      • >>>they base the network capacity on the usage demand, and try to provision only as much as they absolutely have to. This is why ISPs hate Net Neutrality
        >>>

        Net neutrality has nothing to do with underestimate of user demand. Net neutrality is about ensuring all websites are treated equally (i.e. no extra fees to access youtube, or no discounts to watch att.com). As for estimating demand, I would build 1000 times current capacity, figuring that demand has grown from 50k to 50 meg during t

        • Net neutrality has nothing to do with underestimate of user demand. Net neutrality is about ensuring all websites are treated equally (i.e. no extra fees to access youtube, or no discounts to watch att.com).

          It has a lot more to do with Net Neutrality than you would imagine. What have the ISPs biggest reason for filtering networks and no longer maintaining neutral networks? P2P, BitTorrent, Video Traffic, etc. Why? B/c they eat a lot of bandwidth. Why is that a concern? B/c the ISPs don't provision enou

        • Speaking of Arab TVs, the king of content delivery Akamai has took off Al Jazeera "from the air" (web) because of Sep. 11. That website of TV paid for the contract and they ended up without having a hosting provider. The TV, no matter what you hear about it is extremely mild, run by TV professionals, especially British (Ex BBC) and it is off the web just because it is "Arabic Owned" (UAE BTW) and they possibly had some mails from some idiots connecting that TV Network to Al Queda. (hopefully not @whitehous

      • But it's also easy to know...

        What is the difference in price in your area for a 1.5mb DSL line (20-30 here) versus a T-1 to your home?

        I'll stick with my 7mb DSL service for now, thanks.

        • Whether you are using DSL, Cable, etc. for the most part the ground lines are already there. But the sub-stations/central-offices that service them don't necessarily have the backbones to the main facilities to support all the bandwidth that the customers being services by that sub-station/central office have purchased - that is what I mean by "last mile" issues.

          Even Verizon with their FIOS lines are susceptible to this since while the fiber line will give you plenty of bandwidth back to the su
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScottForbes (528679)

        Honestly, they just need to provision 100% of what users are paying for; and figure out the growth rate and provision accordingly.

        ...and there'd only be 50 cell phones per city, because no one else could afford one. (Back when AT&T was a monopoly, this was actually the business model: Cell phones were planned as a high-end luxury item found only in limousines and such.) For guaranteed 100% availability of "what users are paying for," every cell site in the network would have to have one radio channel

  • And if they didnt sign the exclusive deal with Apple, what do you think that growth would have been? Just saying they are complaining all the way to the bank on this one.
    • by s73v3r (963317)
      Still, this whole network thing has hurt their image. If and when Apple ends the exclusivity, there will be people clamoring to leave AT&T in droves.
      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:09PM (#30007468)

        Still, this whole network thing has hurt their image. If and when Apple ends the exclusivity, there will be people clamoring to leave AT&T in droves.

        If and when Apple allows TMobile to also have iPhones, I will happily stay on AT&T while all the suckers go and collapse TMobile's network, while AT&T's finally has some breathing space...

        AT&T needs to get as many network upgrades in as fast as possible, especially now that they understand people are actually going to use mobile data. But I have some sympathy for them as they have seen a level of growth no-one predicted.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TooMuchToDo (882796)
          That's cool. Let's us Android users enjoy the new 7Mbps HSPA they're rolling out:

          http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/04/t-mobile-7-2mbps-hspa-rolling-out-now/ [engadget.com]

          • From the report it seems exactly as much as the current TMobile network, since people are not seeing faster speeds...

            3G is plenty fast enough for me, if they make it more reliable and increase coverage which I would prefer over a much faster network in a handful of showcase cities. Frankly even EDGE is not too bad, it is poor for browsing but it works well enough for maps or other light data use.

        • by nsayer (86181)

          I don't think TMobile will be the only choice.

          By the time iPhone exclusivity ends, it's very likely that both AT&T and Verizon will have at least started rolling out LTE [wikipedia.org], meaning that the top two carriers will have a common wireless "platform."

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          But I have some sympathy for them as they have seen a level of growth no-one predicted.

          IMO that particular prediction should have been a no-brainer. I'll stick to Boost Mobile and my i776, and get an iPhone when I can use it on Boost's network. I had Cingular and was happy with them until AT&T bought them out and my monthly bill shot from about $40 per month to over $100.

          With Boost I'm paying a flat fifty bucks a month. I get unlimited voice, long distance, text, voice mail, and internet, and I'm comple

        • As a new Verizon customer who managed to get AT&T to waive the ETF due to their increasing constipation, I pray Verizon never gets the iphone. Let it stay on GSM and not clog my tubes.

        • by kimvette (919543)

          But I have some sympathy for them as they have seen a level of growth no-one predicted.

          Not me, because this growth is what AT&T hoped for and is exactly why they worked hard to gain the exclusive arrangement with Apple.

      • by StreetStealth (980200) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:10PM (#30007480) Journal

        As someone who just signed up for two years with AT&T, I can't wait for the iPhone exclusivity to end. Not because I want to jump ship, but because it should make things better for everyone.

        The people who are the heaviest users and the most dissatisfied with the service will pretty quickly cough up the ETF and switch to the first competitor that offers it. After a few months, this alone may very well have a noticeable effect on network performance.

        More importantly, though, as AT&T actually begins to feel the financial effects of fleeing iPhone users, they're going to have no choice but to ramp up the infrastructure upgrades to compete. In other words, the market will actually start working like it's supposed to.

        • by Andy Dodd (701)

          There's one thing about the iPhone situation that really annoys me:

          AT&T has tiered pricing for data plans for phones based on its capabilities (i.e. estimating just how much of that "unlimited" data you will actually use depending on whether the phone is a PDA phone, or just a dumbphone, etc.) Tethering users, of course, get hit the hardest ($60/mo and they actually have a specifically documented usage cap). PDA users with keyboards get hit second hardest (formerly $40/mo, now down to $30/mo).

          iPhone u

          • iPhone's data plan is $30/month. I think that, technically, it has a 5gb monthly cap on bandwidth.

            It does not include tethering, though I wish it did.

            • by kimvette (919543)

              It's advertised as unlimited so they cannot legally cap it. Doing so would be fraud.

              • I see from looking around online that you are correct. I may be think of Verizon's "unlimited" EVDO data service, which had a notice in the fine print that stated a 5gb limit (or maybe it was 10gb). The customer rep pointed this out to me when I signed up a year ago. I've since cancelled it, since I no longer need it.

                I don't use 5gb/data a month anyway, so it is a moot point.

          • by zn0k (1082797)

            The data plan for the iPhone is still showing up as $30/month for the normal version. Officially ActiveSync requires an Enterprise data plan, which is $40/month (though ActiveSync runs fine on either).

          • by modemboy (233342)

            No you are wrong. The iPhone data plan is $30 a month.

          • The *original* iPhone data plan is $20/month. And I say "is", because it's still a valid plan if you own an original iPhone. It's "unlimited" data (2G:Edge) and 200 text messages. AT&T's argument for being cheaper is because the original iPhone was (I think) the only PDA-like device they sold that could not take advantage of the 3G network. Ergo, it does not put as much demand on their network as a 3G device, and is thus bundled with a cheaper data plan.

            The 3G and 3GS iPhone plans are priced exac
    • Err, Verizon has been making advertising gold out of it. Note that I'm not a fan of Verizon, but the "there's a map for that" commercials have to be striking a bad chord over at AT&T headquarters right about now...

      • by Deosyne (92713)

        Very true. It was one of the key reasons why I took back an iPhone about a month ago and waited for the release of the Droid instead. Quite a few people have told me great things about Verizon's network while AT&T has been miserable on my company Blackjack. I figured it was just a crap phone only to find the same level of service on the iPhone, which is a pretty good hardware platform otherwise.

      • the "there's a map for that" commercials have to be striking a bad chord over at AT&T headquarters right about now...

        You missed that whole lawsuit thing [slashdot.org] a couple days ago, huh?

    • by jeffstar (134407)

      "he story notes that mobile data at AT&T has grown 4,932% over the last 3 years."

      3 years ago mobile data traffic was probably nearly zero, so putting this in relative terms means nothing to me.

      I wonder how much traffic their feeble network is actually dealing with? Imagine it was only 100 MB/s off each cell site and they are whinging like this...

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        With the last firmware update, even a Nintendo DSi can be used to upload photos to a Facebook account. I know the DSi is not 3G, but the title of the summary only says "mobile data".

      • Urban cell towers usually get fiber backhauls, but rural and sometimes even suburban towers usually have either T1 backhauls or microwave back to an aggregation point.
    • by Afforess (1310263)
      It's like complaining that you need to buy more wheelbarrows to carry the wads of cash to the bank. I really don't pity them.
    • And if they didnt sign the exclusive deal with Apple, what do you think that growth would have been?

      Given the common wisdom that the iPhone isn't actually useful -- it's basically a shiny fashion accessory, right? -- one ought to be skeptical that the deal with Apple has anything to do with increased data usage.

  • First Post! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:29PM (#30007086)

    This would of been the first post, but I'm in new york and posting from my iphone

  • Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:31PM (#30007120)

    "You put all you can in the ground, and they eat it all up, and then you put more in there, and they eat it all up"

    This is the typical, in this case subtle (but in other cases not subtle) blaming of the consumer for overusing network resources beyond some mythical "reasonable/predictable" amount that service providers cling to in rationalizing their retarded infrastructure expansion plans.

    News flash: your network and every other corporate network is at capacity already and you're overselling subscriptions. Don't add one tower and then complain that those data-hungry fiends are using the new bandwidth so quickly. Either think big and grow some balls about expanding your network, or quit complaining and admit that you've resigned to mediocrity.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Informative)

      by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:57PM (#30007376)

      I do have some (very small) sympathy for a company that has seen a 5000% growth in data traffic. Who can realistically plan for that kind of growth?

      But, this is not the customer's fault either. Plan better. And how about you stop laying more people off? If you are growing at these record levels why are there lots of articles about layoffs in the last 3 years? I don't understand this. I'll admit that data growth != customer growth but why the huge layoffs?

      http://www.techworld.com.au/article/269777/t_cut_12_000_employees_through_2009 [techworld.com.au]

      Apparently AT&T has 12000 unemployed former employees from just this year. Sounds like bad planning across the board. Maybe this is a good indicator that the top executives are totally clueless to the actual situation of their company.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MobyDisk (75490)

        Bandwidth does not scale with number of employees.

        • Bandwidth growth might, though. Someone needs to put glass in the ground, after all.

        • by raddan (519638) *
          Yeah, but revenue does. So if he's complaining that they can't meet capacity because they don't have enough money or manpower, well, that's just bullshit. They have the ability to change both of those factors at any time.

          Right-of-way and building permits are a different story, though, especially for towers. Those really do take time.
      • Who can realistically plan for that kind of growth?

        A whole lot of us in the 1990's watched ISPs face exactly that kind of network growth (and worse...)

        Now to be fair, I think the only saving grace back then was that the tech and infrastructure were relatively slow to catch up, let alone exceed the expanding capacity (that is, most folks had a crappy 14,4k modem, then a crappy 28,8k modem, then their phone lines wouldn't give them the full 56k, etc). Also, the bigger your home pipe, the more expensive it got - ISDN was hovering at around $160/month (IIRC) mi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sohp (22984)

        No sympathy from me. If the spokesdroid was being honest, he'd say "You take all the money you get from the government to put all you can in the ground, spend that money on executive bonuses and lobbyists, and then implement bandwidth restrictions to cover up your incompetence and greed. Oh yeah, you also use that as an excuse to kick your competitors off your incumbent network."

      • AT&T's land-line revenue is shrinking at a fantastic rate. The people who work in the land-line divisions are simply going to continue to lose their jobs. It's inevitable, and it's not T's fault. You can't take someone from the land-line billing department, stick a shovel in her hand, and tell her to go build cell towers.

    • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:19PM (#30007568)

      This is the typical, in this case subtle (but in other cases not subtle) blaming of the consumer for overusing network resources beyond some mythical "reasonable/predictable" amount that service providers cling to in rationalizing their retarded infrastructure expansion plans.

      Indeed, it's telling that THEY HAVEN'T STOPPED ADVERTISING.

      Car metaphor: you're a car dealership. You run some ads in which you say "Buy our cars: we have them to sell", and then you sell all the cars you have. Do you
      A: Order more cars to sell
      B: Stop running the ads, since, no, you don't have cars to sell
      C: Complain about customers buying your product faster than you expected while still running the ads and not buying more cars

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Part and parcel of choice C, though, is in this case continuing to sell cars you don't have.

        Unless some sort of SLA is built into the standard consumer contract, which I highly highly doubt, the real kicker is that cell phone service isn't guaranteed at all, and in fact the only thing preventing AT&T from not providing any bandwidth for data is the possibility that people will jump to another carrier. AT&T would love to be in the business of selling nothing to people, because nothing is extremely ch

    • The exact same observation is made with highway construction--but it has led transportation authorities to the opposite conclusion: if the more you build, the more people use the resource--then clearly the answer is to not build any because you'll never fix the congestion, and you'll just encourage more people to use the resource.
      • by raddan (519638) *
        The highway model is a limited analogy because highway bandwidth is finite. There are all kinds of practical impediments to building more capacity, not to mention side-effects of more traffic: increased air pollution, increased risk of accidents, increased road maintenance costs, increased need for parking, etc. The same problems don't apply to fibre. It is exceedingly cheap, reliable, and requires very little effort to install, especially if you already have a right-of-way. In fact, take down the coppe
  • by Reason58 (775044) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:56PM (#30007368)
    Take any area on Earth where you are not at max capacity and then model data usage per phone. Done. In what way is this difficult for a multi-national megacorp?
    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      The way I undestand it, before the iPhone the used data bandwidth was negligible. How the hell where they supposed to plan for a nearly 5000-fold increase in demand?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PPalmgren (1009823)

        It isn't a 5000-fold increase, its 5000% increase, which amounts to 50 times more data usage. They used that data representation to make it seem overwhelming when in fact it could have easily been projected with the first 6 months of iPhone usage. I usually play the devil's advocate, but I will never give AT&T that benefit. They are one of the sleaziest companies in the US. Getting angry because you are spending your customer's money on frivolous bullshit rather than increasing capacity in what they

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That's a nearly 5000 percent increase, not a 5000 fold increase. Yes, 5000% is still a lot of growth, but it is two orders of magnitude less than you perceive it to be. (5000% increase = 50-fold increase)

        In answer to your question of how to plan for huge growth, there were several factors they should have paid better attention to.
        1) Exclusivity. they knew getting into this deal that iPhones would grab a huge user base, which is why they negotiated an exclusive contract. Conclusion: More users = mo
      • by immakiku (777365)
        50-fold?
      • by Duhavid (677874)

        Simulation,
        Understanding the phone and how it acts
        Trials in limited areas with limited numbers of customers, so they could get an idea what the averages in the wild might be.
        Watching the system usage as they added more devices.

    • by curunir (98273) *

      That would be all well and good, except that we're talking about mobile phones. Pretty much by design, they tend to move around a bit. So it may be easy to tell how much overall capacity you'll need on your network, but it's not as simple as arriving at that result and deploying that amount...you need to figure out the property capacity for each location covered by your network.

      And because of this, if you want to have the capacity to handle all traffic on your network, you'll need more capacity than the tot

      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        My cell provider having 37 million users, heavily advertising 3G even with the "network nightmare" 3G USB dongles has no issue with bandwidth, we are also overseas which means 100-200 ms ping response from American sites.

        The GSM towers, routers etc. are really advanced devices of their own kind. They report everything including the bandwidth utilization. Even $30 el cheapo cable modem reports more than we actually need. Did you check the amount of data which is available via SNMP? Now imagine $100K, $200K c

  • by Super Dave Osbourne (688888) on Friday November 06, 2009 @01:56PM (#30007370)
    This guy's quote is BS, if you as the owner of your traffic don't know how much demand there is either by system monitoring and/or usage patterns for specific type clients (with demograhaphics tagged along with it, because ATT sure as hell knows its clients profiles and/or can buy such data from 3rd parties) then they need to get out of the business. Either way ATT has slacked on its network, let Verizon (good for them) to compete and do it well and then blame poor performance and oversell on its lack of knowledge. That is just BS, they know, don't care until it hurts in the pocket... And exclusive contracts with big hardware vendors does't help the public, its own customer base, as well as its image. Shame on ATT.
    • by jeffstar (134407)

      I wonder how verizon would fare if they were able to offer the iPhone with unlimited data as well...

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      This guy's quote is BS, if you as the owner of your traffic don't know how much demand there is either by system monitoring and/or usage patterns for specific type clients (with demograhaphics tagged along with it, because ATT sure as hell knows its clients profiles and/or can buy such data from 3rd parties) then they need to get out of the business.

      No, what's he's saying is that since the network is already full to 100% of capacity, it's impossible to tell how much more capacity they need in specific areas

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        That's really not true though, because you can still count devices attempting to connect but being rebuffed. So actually, it's trivial to figure out where capacity is most needed, but not necessarily how much. If they can't make a very good guess, though, then they are even more hard up for talent than I thought.

        • by Blakey Rat (99501)

          Well, it's still an excuse. It's just not as lame an excuse as it appears at first glance.

          Anyway, I don't fault them. Data in Seattle is a bit slow, but it's pretty reliable, and from my experience, their coverage (in general) is better than Verizon's-- or at least I know plenty of locations where my friend's Verizon phone won't work but my phone works fine.

    • I agree with the parent. I mean, come on. AT&T has one of the largest data backbones in the WORLD. Their command & control center is cooler than Nasa's. They have three hundred thousand employees and do 120 BILLION in revenue yearly. This is BS stuff for a purely PR standpoint. They know exactly what data people want and exactly what their capacity is, trust me. They probably have a couple hundred employees whose full-time job is to manage bandwidth across their worldwide network. They also have ver
  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:01PM (#30007404) Journal
    "We've upped our 3G network coverage! So up yours!"
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:03PM (#30007420)

    'If a network is not fully loaded, it's hard to know exactly how much demand is out there,' Donovan said. 'You put all you can in the ground, and they eat it all up, and then you put more in there, and they eat it all up.'"

    You've never done any kind of network administration, have you Mr. Donovan? You designed your network for average use, not peak use. As anyone who designs networks for a living will tell you -- it will function perfectly well until it reaches close to or at 100% utilization, at which point it'll choke and die horribly. Had you excercised proper engineering methodology, you would have known to test each product/application being put on the network in test markets and used the use data to predict what the peak would be, and then only deploy it when you had a 20-50% greater capacity than what the data suggests.

    But alas, you eschewed best practices to save a few bucks -- all those profitable quarters and executive kickbacks, all the while your towers were backhauled on 512kbit DSL and fractional T1s. Your infrastructure's been rotting for a long time, sir, and the iPhone has nothing to do with your failure as an executive to execute a proper deployment plan that accounts for growth. You should be ashamed: The chinese mobile phone network has over 500 million subscribers, and their plans are cheaper, have better options, and their infrastructure is far more modern. China has similar problems to the United States in terms of rural development and rugged terrain for deployment -- and yet you've abjectly failed to not only do your case studies, but even do exploratory research within your own market.

    It's amazing that this level of incompetence is rewarded by our society.

    • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Friday November 06, 2009 @02:17PM (#30007552)

      It's amazing that this level of incompetence is rewarded by our society.

      Unfortunately it's not amazing. It's so common and so frequently noticed that we've become blasé about it. The system of cronyism between rich people has utterly eliminated accountability and actual performance incentives (rather than fake ones), to the point where their precious "free market" in labor doesn't work at all.

      It used to be that when you scrambled your way to the top, you had to keep scrambling because someone young and hungry was coming up behind you. Nowadays the gap between the rich at the top and the next layer down has become such a vast gulf, there's no worries that any hard scrambler can ever cross it. Even if he scrambles REALLY hard, the odds he'll ever scramble hard enough to be able to afford to get into your precious country club are slim to none. The membership fee rises faster than his piddly "fortune".

      I used to think it was possible to scramble hard enough, until some helpful soul on Slashdot pointed out the folly of my optimism. I believed in the American Dream, until Slashdot very unkindly pointed out that class mobility in the United States has never been lower, and it's REALLY low. Thanks Slashdot. You killed my dream. Bastards.

      • by Esteanil (710082)

        I used to think it was possible to scramble hard enough

        Well. Here's the thing. See how the recession's ending? That's because of the new budding tech bubble. This one does have rather a lot more substance than the .com bubble did, though.
        Retrain yourself in the newest, most fashionable technologies out there, and be adaptable enough to pick up new tech in a week or two. Focus hard on your specific business area, then get a couple of employees - someone to boss around and a pro sales person. Then expand as rapidly as possible (better get started soon, good tech

        • Or even better, start a business doing something you really believe in and work 12/365 for a few years. I'm pretty sure you'll get there if you scramble :-)

          Your faith is touching, but judging by the headlines, after a few years of 12/365 grinding labor trying to bootstrap a new company, I'd end up.... bankrupt in a Texas court at the hands of a patent troll.

          As for riding the next bubble, no thanks. I didn't ride the last one, and so while I was never making 6 figures like some of my peers out of college, I never bought a 7 figure house I can't pay for now either, and I'm still employed and my house value hasn't declined at all. Chasing the next boom is a g

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        It used to be that when you scrambled your way to the top, you had to keep scrambling because someone young and hungry was coming up behind you.

        It's worth noting that one of the factors in making it possible to "scramble to the top" that is no longer true is that executives were once nearly always people who had been promoted up through the ranks at the company that they worked for throughout their careers, whereas now it is quite common for people to be hired in at the VP or CxO level. This has a lot of implications, a few of the more important ones being:
        1. Executives are more likely to be identify with other company's executives than low

        • It's worth noting that one of the factors in making it possible to "scramble to the top" that is no longer true is that executives were once nearly always people who had been promoted up through the ranks at the company that they worked for throughout their careers, whereas now it is quite common for people to be hired in at the VP or CxO level.

          It does have a lot of implications. So many I feel obliged to point out another one.

          Now that large corporations no longer promote from within, they're almost guaranteed to recruit executives who know nothing about the business of the corporation. All they know are "management practices." So they set to with a will after they're hired, determined to make their mark on the company, wielding the only things they know: paper-pushing "resource" management. They know nothing about the existing corporate cul

    • You've never done any kind of network administration, have you Mr. Donovan? You designed your network for average use, not peak use.

      I think what he is saying (badly) is that you can't find the peak if your network is constantly at peak.

      Not to mention it's hard to figure out what the real peak will be in a few years with 4600% growth in average use.

      To put it simply, that level of growth caught everyone flat footed because people just did not use data plans that heavily before. AT&T is still trying to fi

      • I think what he is saying (badly) is that you can't find the peak if your network is constantly at peak.

        If he'd been doing case studies from the start and deploying products in test markets on a schedule -- this wouldn't have become a problem because there would have been leading indicators of a sudden upward rise in demand. But they disregarded that in order to release the iPhone nationwide all at once as part of a huge marketing campaign, rather than in select markets in a phased deployment. They made a grave miscalculation in doing so and now have no idea where they sit. In this situation, the solution is

        • Be realistic (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SuperKendall (25149)

          If he'd been doing case studies from the start and deploying products in test markets on a schedule

          Come on, how are you going to "test market" something like the iPhone? It releases everywhere, all at once - and it's been a rollercoaster for them since.

          I have seen so many test market plans from large companies go up in smoke. Invariably there is something large no-one accounted for in the testing. You can test and test to some degree, but there are always at least a few huge surprises when you deploy -

          • Come on, how are you going to "test market" something like the iPhone? It releases everywhere, all at once - and it's been a rollercoaster for them since.

            They could have released the iPhone in only a few places, at a few stores, just like they have done with many other phones. They didn't, because Apple didn't want to "spoil the big surprise". All AT&T saw was dollar signs.

            Invariably there is something large no-one accounted for in the testing.

            So I suppose now we should just build a million cars without testing them on the track, because assuredly, something "large" will go unnoticed: Like forgetting to install brakes.

            as I said before part of the rise in bandwidth is the rise in the number of applications that make use of that bandwidth.

            You've said many things before. Like how you invented the internet, know everything there is about computers

      • by Duhavid (677874)

        And I think what they other guy is saying is that the system was not always at peak load, and this *should not* be a surprise to them, they should have seen it coming, and reacted better and sooner.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      Sadly, he works for AT&T who created the ultimate scalable state of art OS (and philosophy) UNIX. That AT&T in 1970s were doing things like that and now they whine about something which even a basic home user these days have knowledge about. Even home users started to do bandwidth planning especially for contract based subscriptions. If guy only cares about Youtube, Mail, Web, he gets 1Mbit line instead of 4-8+ MBit.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I don't have a car analogy, but I have a stereo analogy.

      Stereo amps have two power ratings: RMS and peak. RMS is continuous power, peak is what it can hit for a short time. When you buy an amp, you don't compare peak power, you compare RMS.

      If your amp is rated at 100 watts RMS and you hook 100 watt speakers to it, you'll blow your speakers if you crank it all the way up. AT&T's top brass must go through a lot of speakers!

  • If you build it... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kawabago (551139)
    If you build it, they will come. In this case they're coming anyway, you better build something quick!
  • Sounds like just another group of clueless executives in the communications/IT industry. All they saw was dollar signs with this agreement with Apple. They had no idea of the impact on their network.

    Just another day in the IT industry.

  • Don't sell what you don't have.

    If you want to sell more, build more before selling it.

    If this were any other industry, I would bring up "if you can't, someone else will" but the market providers are so few that it's not true.

  • I got an iPhone to up my wireless coverage, AT&T. Now up yours.

  • What is truly pathetic is that the old AT&T would have handled this without problem. The company the built the first non-blocking electronic switch (the 1ESS) in 1965 and invented Shannon's law is now sadly but a faint memory.

    The only things left are a legacy of Nobel Prizes (still growing [harvestimaging.com]) and water towers shaped like transistors.

  • By targeting Apple iPhone and AT&T together, Verizon lost way too many potential customers. Industry rule is, never ever specifically target Apple since it is something like a cult. I know lots of people around me asking "So what the hell is Verizon and why they hate Apple?". I am thousands of kilometers away from USA, now that should be some real alerting thing.

    AT&T could advertise involvement with UNIX (which many don't know), Verizon could inform people about why they have the largest coverage, w

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