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AT&T: Keep Your Landline Or You'll Die Alone Of Peanut Allergy
AT&T's latest effort to keep the landline relevant
by Karl Bode 04:24PM Tuesday Jul 07 2009
Given AT&T's traditional wired phone service is shrinking by about 10% a year as people defect to cell only or cable VoIP, AT&T has launched a new significant PR campaign (via GigaOM) aimed at highlighting the landline as the centerpiece of a safety-conscious household. The campaign offers safety surveys and a slew of new reasons why you should keep your landline, including the ability to call your cell when you lose it, ensuring you stay connected to grandma -- and oh, making sure you don't die alone from your peanut allergy.

There certainly are people who prefer the call quality, reliability and power-backup capabilities of a landline, but it's unlikely that AT&T's campaign will do much to slow the steady erosion of their POTS customers, most of whom are leaving to save money. If the landline is such a necessary component of our national safety infrastructure, and customers are fleeing by the millions to save money -- wouldn't a reasonable response to this reality be to drastically lower the cost of landline service? Ok no, scaring people works, too.

As with most services, carriers have tried very hard to avoid lowering prices, despite the fact that decades-old voice service costs very little to provide. Services like call waiting, which you surely pay plenty for, costs AT&T just pennies. That's before we even get to ridiculous unofficial surcharges imposed like the "regulatory recovery fee," which artificially jacks up the cost of landline service under the guise of government-mandated fees.

There's always talk of ultra-low cost landline service from carriers, but it never materializes. Any low cost and restrictive plans that do exist usually wind up being dramatically higher than the advertised price, once baby bell bill wizards get done with added surcharges. If AT&T's so concerned with your family's safety, perhaps it's time to drastically lower POTS prices for the good of grandma and her peanut allergy? Think of the children, AT&T.


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