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Alabama Town Not Excited to Be AT&T's 'IP Transition' Guinea Pig
by Karl Bode 06:40PM Wednesday Apr 09 2014
We've discussed at length how AT&T's "IP transition" is being framed as some sort of evolutionary transition toward a "glorious all-IP future," but is really largely about AT&T gutting regulations in order to hang up on POTS and DSL users they simply don't want to upgrade. After Verizon used Sandy as an excuse to refuse to upgrade their own unwanted POTS and DSL customers, the FCC stepped in to mandate two small IP transition trials to help analyze what kind of problems we can expect as users are cut off from the PSTN and pushed on to wireless.

The problem, as we've now stated countless times, is despite its "archaic" reputation, many people are still using and quite enjoying their traditional POTS landlines and DSL connections. Being upgraded to fiber is one thing, but what AT&T and Verizon are planning to do is gut copper POTS and DSL, while claiming heavily capped and very expensive wireless data will be good enough.

Case in point is one of the two locations where AT&T will be conducting trials: Carbon Hill, Alabama. According to the Wall Street Journal, locals there are a little annoyed that they're being used as guinea pigs while at the same time losing functionality they'd prefer stick around:
AT&T's top executive in Alabama, Fred McCallum, wrote that the proposed changes are an "exciting opportunity for our customers and for our company." But Carbon Hill City Clerk Janice Pendley says some people in the former mining town are apprehensive. "Some of them like their landline, and they like it just the way it is," she says.
The Journal touches on the fact that competitors will also be cut out of the equation as the telcos sever these traditional connections they're unwilling to upgrade. The Journal doesn't mention how as these companies exit these areas they're going to make broadband even less competitive than it is now (protip: not very much), giving cable a stronger monopoly resulting in higher rates and even poorer customer service.

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Milford, CT

2 recommendations

reply to tabernak

Re: Change doesn't have to be bad

said by tabernak:

So long as they continue to provide wireline service most customers won't notice a difference. U-verse internet and phone will be as good or better than what most have already with POTS and DSL.

My family had a traditional landline for over 30 years. It survived hurricanes and blizzards. The one and only time we lost service it was due to an AT&T tech's mistake. In the 3-4 years I've had Cablevision's phone service, I've lost phone service dozens of times. One time it was down for 3-4 days. Any time the internet service goes out, it takes the phone with it.

That's your idea of "better"?