News tagged: AT&T Midwest
The Lansing State Journal
notes that Michigan legislation backed by AT&T would allow phone companies to discontinue landline service -- and the DSL service that runs over it -- with just 90 days' notice beginning in 2017. This is just one of dozens of similar pushes in states around the country as AT&T and Verizon lay the groundwork for hanging up on users they refuse to upgrade to next-gen services
and no longer want.
AT&T and Verizon lobbyists are going state to state
, selling the gutting of remaining POTS regulation as an amazing, necessary evolutionary step into a modern "all IP age" where somehow more connectivity will flourish
. But as we've recently seen with Verizon Sandy victims
, terminating POTS and DSL services -- and then just hoping
wireless fills in the gaps -- has a decidedly unsexy underbelly:
(Bill Wayland) wants to keep the landline phone in his Chesterfield Township home. He can’t get service on his cell phone in the workshop in his basement and said he often loses calls when he uses his cell phone in his office. His 21-year-old disabled son doesn't have the fine motor skills to use a cell phone, and his security alarm is wired to his landline.
Yeah too bad, sorry Bill. While it's true that people are walking away from POTS at a quick pace, many aren't. Regardless of AT&T's claims wireless isn't a panacea: caps make it far more expensive and restrictive than DSL, and it won't reach many corners (see above). Worse perhaps is that as AT&T and Verizon pull DSL and POTS from a market, incumbent cable operators will see even less competition than they see now, raising prices for the remaining hostage fixed-line customers accordingly.
It's a complicated conversation that's going to require patience and intelligence. What we're getting instead is AT&T and Verizon bull rushing their own agenda with a lot of false promises
, with state lawmakers nodding dumbly because ye olde copper networks are just "so yesterday." You'd be hard pressed to find government officials or regulators anywhere
asking what happens to broadband quality and pricing when you decide to completely eliminate one of frequently just two fixed-line options.
AT&T has been working hard to gut regulations governing traditional phone service so they can exit the landline (DSL & POTS) business in numerous areas and focus on the real money maker: wireless. To do this, they've been going state to state, promising locals a cornucopia of broadband upgrades
-- if only locals agree to eliminate all pesky remaining regulations.
AT&T has yet to offer a single customer 1 Gbps service, but that didn't stop AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today from hinting at additional
1 Gbps market launches that may or may not happen. To counter media excitement created by Google Fiber's move into Austin last April, AT&T issued an ambiguous announcement
one day later proclaiming they were "prepared to build" networks with "advanced fiber optic infrastructure" under select circumstances.
Last week AT&T rather quietly deployed an LTE service aimed at home users called, quite creatively, AT&T Wireless Home Phone and Internet
. Like Verizon's Home Fusion
service, AT&T's Wireless Home Phone and Internet service is aimed squarely at rural users without any fixed-line options.
We've been talking for more than a year about how Verizon is jacking up DSL prices and returning to forcing DSL users to bundle costly landline service in order to drive those users to their new cable industry BFFs
, resulting in a stronger cable monopoly. Elsewhere, Verizon is using Sandy damage as an excuse to abandon millions of customers, refusing to repair downed lines and offering a lower quality Voice Link wireless voice only service as a "replacement
This is one of the biggest transitions in telecom in thirty years, and as such you'd think the mainstream press would notice it was going on.
A few weeks back, in response to Google Fiber, AT&T announced a plan for fiber to the press release in Austin
. That is, the company issued a very weaselly-worded statement claiming they were "prepared to build" an "advanced fiber optic infrastructure" technically capable of 1 Gbps if
they saw the precise perks they wanted from regional regulators.
AT&T appears poised to begin offering new U-Verse speed tiers that should offer a belated speed increase for bandwidth-hungry users. Earlier this year AT&T promised users
they'd eventually see 75-100 Mbps using line bonding, though the company was somewhat murky on deployment time -- or upstream speeds.
AT&T has started using push polls and astroturf to convince Kentucky residents losing their DSL lines, paying higher prices, and losing all state consumer protections is going to work out really well for them. AT&T is of course going state to state
insisting their telecom regulations need "modernizing" for an all IP age.
As I've been noting, both AT&T and Verizon have been busy trying to gut absolutely all regulatory oversight of those companies
, in the process severing the DSL and landlines of tens of millions of users
, who'll have to flee to an even less-competitive cable monopoly, more-expensive and capped LTE service, or even pricier and more-heavily capped satellite broadband.
The gadget-obsessed press and incumbent-beholden regulators so far have napped through the implications of this, as AT&T's claim that regulations simply need to be "modernized" as we go all IP appears to have lulled most of them into a compliant slumber.
Yesterday we noted that despite the copyright industry's new "six strikes" anti-piracy campaign launch, just one ISP had bothered to put anything about the plan on their website
. AT&T sent us a statement justifying their lack of website information by saying they intend to communicate directly with impacted users.
Verizon and AT&T want to get out of maintaining or upgrading the tens of millions of DSL users so they can focus on wireless, a move that makes obvious business sense from their perspectives. Verizon Wireless isn't unionized, so Verizon gets rid of union headaches. story continues..
After several significant delays, the entertainment industry and most of the nation's largest ISPs are set to launch their "six strikes" graduated response anti-piracy efforts starting today. Sources familiar with the plan timetable have told both Daily Dot
and Torrent Freak
that six strikes starts today, and a new Center for Copyright Information website
run by the entertainment industry appears to have been freshly launched for the occasion (see new video, below).
Back in 2011 the FCC began collecting real-world user broadband data from customized routers, then issuing reports on which ISPs were failing to deliver advertised speeds. It's one of the few FCC policies in recent years that has truly paid dividends for consumers. story continues..
It has been about half a decade now that I've been pointing out that most of the meters used by ISPs to track and bill consumers for usage aren't accurate. Customers of Canadian cable operator Cogeco have long complained the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all
, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last Spring when the meter was horribly confused by leap year
While AT&T is promising that 250 million potential customers will be covered by the 4G technology by the end of the year, the company remains intentionally vague about U-Verse build out goals. AT&T recently announced a significant network expansion for both U-Verse and LTE, though as we noted at the time
the company used some flaky math to make the U-Verse portion of that expansion seem much larger than it actually is.
Both AT&T and Verizon are currently hanging up on tens of millions of DSL and copper POTS customers they don't want to upgrade, letting them either flee to cable competitors, or to their pricier and heavily capped LTE services. To achieve this dream however, the companies have to entirely dismantle the regulations overseeing most of these networks -- networks built with the help of tens-of-billions in taxpayer dollars and several generations of massive
tax breaks (quite often with few results to show for them
AT&T told CES attendees this week that the company will soon be offering their AT&T Digital Life home security and automation service in eight unspecified markets starting in March. According to the AT&T press release
, the all-digital, all wireless service allows users to manage home lighting and home security from any mobile device, be it a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Netflix has once again ranked the best ISPs for streaming content. According to this Netflix blog post
, the company's rankings come from 30 million members viewing over 1 billion hours of Netflix each month.
With the entertainment industry's "six strikes" anti-piracy plan very close to launch, some ISPs are finally willing to talk a little about the new steps they'll be taking to thwart pirates on their networks starting later this month. CNET's Declan McCullagh moderated a panel discussion on the new six strikes initiative this week, where ISPs and the RIAA and MPAA tried to downplay concerns about the program. story continues..
AT&T's recently announced DSL expansion
may not be all it was cracked up to be after closer examination. AT&T announced in a press release on November 7 that they'd be expanding their U-Verse coverage total from 24.5 million homes to 33 million, suggesting an additional 8.5 million new users.
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