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Hurrah – AT&T Not Failing or Sucking at SXSW


Image Source: Gizmodo

South by Southwest (SXSW) is a big event for my hometown of Austin each year, a linked set of film, music and interactive festivals that take place here each March and draw lots of music and film fans as well as tons of techies and geeks.  That latter group has been known to put a strain on AT&T’s much-maligned voice and data networks.

Last year, the network did not handle the strain.  AT&T’s record at SXSW 2009 was considered a big fail. It’s great to see that this year AT&T and its network are doing much, much better.

Gizmodo is reporting today that there are no trending #attfail or similar topics on Twitter, and that users are not reporting any major problems.

MG Siegler at TechCrunch has got even higher praise for AT&T’s performance:

Yes, despite my concerns, I ‘m happy to report that the network has been incredibly stable over the past several days. In fact, it ‘s the best I ‘ve ever seen AT&T ‘s network perform ” anywhere. Over the past three days I haven ‘t dropped one call, haven ‘t missed one voicemail, haven ‘t been missed any text messages, and the data is flowing freely, allowing my iPhone to actually work.

The fact that AT&T is actually working like a network you pay $100-a-month for is notable because last year at the same conference, AT&T suffered a complete and utter meltdown. Strained to the point of pretty much continuous failure under the weight of smart phones (and yes, the iPhone in particular), AT&T had to hustle to bring in backup systems to get the network at least somewhat working over the last few days of the interactive part of the conference last year.

My own experience so far is the same as is being reported.  My wife and I spent more or less all day out in downtown Austin yesterday, in the thick of all the SXSW events and in several bars and restaurants round the center of town.  Her 3G and my 3GS both worked flawlessly throughout the day – no voice or data issues at all

Great job by AT&T.  Here’s hoping they take up MG Siegler’s plea and apply whatever they’ve been doing here in Austin to their beleaguered network in bigger cities like San Francisco and New York.

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