AT&T CEO: We Don't Promote $10 DSL Because No One Wants It

from the yeah,-right dept

Remember the story back in June about how AT&T had extremely quietly started offering $10 DSL as was required in its deal to buy BellSouth? The company was promoting many other, more expensive, DSL options, but the only way you could get the required $10 version was if you specifically knew to ask about it. Broadband Reports points to an interview from an Atlanta newspaper with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson where he’s asked about the $10 DSL. The interviewer points out that no story about AT&T resulted in a more irate response from AT&T customers as its story about the hidden offer for $10 DSL, suggesting that this was a huge issue for AT&T customers. Stephenson’s response? First he denies that the company made it hard to find, and then he says that they’re not promoting it because customers don’t want it. This, despite the clear response from customers to the very newspaper who was conducting the interview. Then, he basically admits that the $10 DSL doesn’t work very well, saying that they don’t promote it because they don’t want to give customers a product that sucks. Of course, he says that as if it’s not his company that has quite a bit of control over whether or not the product sucks. Yes, that’s right. AT&T actually thinks you’ll believe that they’re hiding their cheap broadband offering because, seriously, who wants cheap broadband when more expensive broadband is available? Of course, this isn’t a new strategy from AT&T. Back when it was SBC and refused to offer naked DSL, the claim was that customers didn’t want naked DSL either, despite the success many other companies were having with it, and numerous articles with people clamoring for it. It appears that AT&T has figured out that when there’s really no competition, you get to decide what it is your customers really do or do not want.

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Comments on “AT&T CEO: We Don't Promote $10 DSL Because No One Wants It”

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Overcast says:

Sounds like standard AT&T business practice.

You know – years ago, I used to respect that company. Now… ehhhh, lol

I’m just so very glad they aren’t in my area. And I’ll certainly never get an iPhone as long as I *have* to get AT&T.

I’ll stick with the Blackberry, I do think. Can’t say I’ve been at all unpleased with it anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I quit dealing with ATT shortly after they obtained my email from a domain name registration and started sending me spam. Apparently there’s a company called `smartsource’ or some such that looks for email addresses near postal addresses and sells these emails on. If I’d wanted them to have my email, I would have given them it when I signed up.

Unfortunately, the local ILEC and my cellular carrier are both AT&T now, and I can’t see the German post office as being much better than AT&T for wireless.


Casper says:


Just try their wireless service for a few months and you will see all the same stuff. That’s why I’m leaving for a new cell carrier in the next month or so. Screw AT&T, screw Verizon, screw all their drama, I am going to someone like Helio, where at least they can blame their problems on someone else’s network.

Casper says:

Re: Ill tell you what I want, what I really really

i wand bad businesses to fail. so we dont like AT&T because they rip us off with shady business stratigies. then lets start a nation wide boycot of their services

The problem is, it’s not so simple. The big companies have monopolies over certain areas. For instance, Quest has large portions of the west coast where people have no other option. No matter how unhappy they are, they are the only broad band available, and they own the lines so there won’t be more moving in any time soon.

Bill W says:

$10.00 ATT DSL

I live in the city(Fresno) and have ATT phone service and I can’t get any DSL at all. They have everything locked up so you cannot get service from any provider and at the same time won’t provide service to their customers at any price. To xxx!!!cc with ATT. Why don’t they investigate why these companies have a monoply on services but don’t have to provide service unless you live in the right part of town. No; I don’t want their $10.00 service…I just want DSL service from any provider…

SWH says:

Re: $10.00 ATT DSL

I’m in the same boars as you. I find it ridiculous what we have to go through to get what everyone else has. For four years now I’ve gotten the same thing. Service should be available to you within the year, lines have to be run. Well I’m wondering why they aren’t being run. If they don’t have the man power then that problem should be addressed post haste. To me it sounds like a breach of promise. When they bought the company they promised this to all customers not just a select few.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: $10.00 ATT DSL

Why don’t they investigate why these companies have a monoply on services but don’t have to provide service unless you live in the right part of town.

The citizens of Fresno need to investigate themselves and find out why they keep electing local representatives that give monopolies to certain companies instead of allowing open access. As long as you keep electing republicrats, this is what you’ll get.

Ben says:

After reading the whole article...

I don’t see whats so bad about this. The same reason why Mercedes doesn’t want to back a crappy car, AT&T doesn’t want to draw attention to a crappy product. Its not that they are providing it poorly that makes it crappy, its just that its shoddy speeds that people would not enjoy, and there are better bang for buck options. But it is hard to find the 10 dollar option, no doubt about that. But be fair, its good business to follow the letter of the law and not draw attention to it if it isn’;t a profitable offering.

I do not see this as being very shady or worthy of notifying the FCC. Seems like people are making a mountain out of a molehill.

edscotter says:

Re: After reading the whole article...

These guys are crooks my bill never comes in at the same price! I have a business plan…I have found charges that have nothing to do with the plan At&t promotes to the client. If I could change I would! My plan ended Feb 2007 and At&t says that it ends in Dec 07…you could call and get a different answer from each rep.

Meoip says:


I have ATT not by choice it’s the only provider in my area. I live in a upper class (one of the top 5 wealthiest counties in the USA) area. I could get another provider but they only manage accounts in my area so I couldn’t get special discounts or pricing so their Internet would cost $80 where I get ATT phone and net for 34. Yes it is poor quality. Yes they have refused to bundle my bill with my cingular phone, yes the quality of my phone dropped when they changed back to the ATT name, and yes customer service is the worst. But I’m pretty stuck…

My wife’s family has Cingular / the new ATT so my wife and I have it so she can talk to them. I’ve decided to start a campaign to get the family to switch to something else.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have it

A few things:

The service is not hidden. Do the qualification, start the sign-up process and you will see this option (listed first actually) among all of the possible options.

The service is up consistently, and the speed is fine. I replaced Charter cable with this service and I have zero complaints.

I do the same crap I always did, upload files via ftp, download files, watch youtube, email, etc. The service is much more reliable than Charter cable ever was in the Knoxville TN area.

Rick says:

I recently moved and tried to get the $10 DSL. They said it was not available and tghe agent had no idea what it was and didn’t think it really existed. I was probably reading about some false internet rumor.

Then she tried selling me 4 things I did not want finally ending the call after she offered me naked dsl FOR $44.95 A MONTH, with a contract! Their local phone service/basic DSL bundle is only $2 more?!

Charter Cable, on the other hand, offered me naked cable internet for $20/month,without a contract, at double the speed of DSL, with no annoying push to bundle anything.

Frack AT&T.

Adam Fabian says:

Re: good luck

I complained to the FCC about something like this. I couldn’t order online because my account required ‘special handling,’ and, of course, over the phone they said it was an online only offer. Before too long, a nice woman from the executive office of customer affairs at AT&T gave me a call and keyed my order into the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think they used to do something like this with cell phone service. You used to be able to get no-minutes plans for under 20 bucks/month. In fact, my first cell phone was like $15/mo with no minutes. It was perfect for my parents to keep in the RV for emergencies. The last time we had to get a cell phone they looked at me like I had two heads when I asked about plans like this.

Michael says:

Their behavior makes sense to me. They’re being forced to offer a product through government regulation. Were I them, I wouldn’t be too excited about promoting the offering either. True, nobody “wants” expensive DSL, but the market will bear it, so that’s what AT&T chooses to offer. I’m no fan of AT&T, but in this particular case, they just seem to be doing what I would consider normal in that situation.

eskimo (user link) says:

i have it too

You bunch of yahoos!! Of course ATT says it’s crap, because they want you to but the exact same thing for $14.95/mo. There are caveats to getting this service, you cannot have had ATT DSL before, must be a ATT customer, have to look for it in the sign ups on the web page, alothough it is first in line once you get there. I have this at home now, after having dialup for years. I got a free (after rebate) modem, and it’s never been down, my wife and I love it. Sure we could spend $100/mo on some bundle, but for us, this is better than just fine, it’s great.

Get real says:

Stephenson is right

Not trying to defend AT&T here, but Richardson is right. No one in their right mind would want DSL that cost only $10. The only way they could offer so low a price is to use the cheapest, oldest equipment available and little to no customer service. Even with that ,your DSL would be down more than it was up. If AT&T could make money on this product, they would be promoting it. Believe me, they would. But they know that they can’t; no one could. All this product can do is hurt the company’s reputation further.

Jared says:

Re: Stephenson is right

Uh, actually it doesn’t suck. It works quite well for us here. My modem is identical to the one my friends have with a more expensive package so the equipment is not old. My DSL hasn’t been down at all since we got it installed a month ago. It works quite well. Obviously not as fast as the 5 meg cable i used to have before we moved, but fast enough for what I do. And since I AM In my right mind, you’re obviously wrong, because i DO want $10 a month DSL. Get Real.

Tom Arnel says:

Re: Re: Stephenson is right

You are correct about this. I just got DSL Lite for $10 a month and my service is fine. Sure the downloads are slightly longer, but I get pretty much instant video downloads etc. I’m quite please. I also have a spanking new fast laptop and that could be one reason that it works so well. I ran DSL Lite on my 8 year old Celeron computer and it ran like crap.

John Hellmann (profile) says:

$10 DSL

I signed my elderly parents up for it in late June. It was HALF the cost of their dialup, and it frees their telephone so I can help my father (via telephone support) when he is having a computer problem. I used it there myself for a short time after I installed it and although its 768/128, it works pretty well, CERTAINLY better than dialup! The only issue I’m having is getting the $75 rebate on the modem. And that may be finally solved via voice contact on a customer service number.

Jim Beam says:

AT&T/SBC Sucks

They were incompetent a$$holes when I HAD to get DSL because I had no other choices. Took over three months and continual screwups before I finally got service. Ended up finally getting cable and dropped SBC, only to get another bill after I’d supposedly paid in full. Told them where to shove it and never looked back. Have 30Mb FIOS now and work picks up the tab….life is good.

a yellow page survivor says:

the fun never stops

Ever run an add in their yellow pages? Now you HAVE to buy an additional in their online dierctory and spend like $55.00 a month to have a print ad.

Someone, get the Vasaline!

Some clients are decideing to try Verison’s new directory this year just to spite them. I think they haven’t figured out they aren’t the only game in town yet – but I’m thinking it will sink in when sales sink.

Hopefully, they will wise up, offer better products and services, and win their customers trust back.

We can hope anyway.

Jonathan says:

Please dont hate the Sales reps blame management.

The CEO’s of AT&T are the crooks here. Not the poor reps on the phone, believe it or not I am part of CWA the union of AT&T and we are dealing with a crisis in our cell phone division of 70% Attrition and the same goes for the Wireline side. We deal with so much assinine crap like this from upper management I wouldn’t be the least bit suprised that a sales rep could get a negative review by management if they sold what the customer wanted ($10 DSL) to what management thinks you want. Higher packages and up. With turnover like that it’s no wonder people always get different answers.


John says:

Cry me a river!

For many YEARS I have asked Southwestern Bell/SBC/AT&T for DSL service. It’s not offered where I live despite the fact I live less than a mile from a CO and half of my neighborhood has DSL. The last time I talked to them (they were still SBC) I asked point blank if they intended to run DSL to my half of the neighborhood. She said they had no plans to expand in my area.

So I got rid of them. I get my dial tone, long distance, television, and Internet all from my cable company since they actually want my business. I get a good laugh out of all the letters I get from AT&T asking me back.

Pony Rein says:

AT&T CEO: We Don't Promote $10 DSL Because No One

amazing that after the government broke up the bell telephone monopoly that AT&T has resurrected it in spades The agreement with the sec was that they provide the low cost DSL to people there claim that no one wants it and it is essentially garbage means they created a crappy DSL to give to those that insisted and by doing so showed they had no real intention of complying with the SEC and are well on their way to creating another monopoly

and you know the current government is not going to lift a finger to stop them KA-CHING!!

Anonymous Coward says:


Are we missing the fact that why is it the governments role to tell a company what they have to offer the market. its not 1980 there is cable satelite and yes still dial up internet, if the market demands a $10 product from ATT they will have one. the company has its issues no doubt but if the goverment walked into your company and told you you HAD to offer something that you knew sucked for your business would you be out shouting it from the hilltops? Rip me a new one if you want but truth is truth and the free market isn’t the root of all evil its overzealous government that we should be concerned about

Clueby4 says:

Stop flapping about Free market!!

There is NO such thing as a free market. Usage of that word is like talking about how you can’t wait for Santa to bring you presents. More times then not is just a parroted concept used to rationalize.

Right of Way use of public resources be it wired or unwired is should not be free. Obsequiously offered $10 a month DSL is hardly just compensation.

Q says:

ahh thats more like it.

Ahhhh, yes yes yes. I was starting to feel overwhelmed by so many choices. Its so nice to have the comunications in this country run by one jagernaunt, the oil run by another, and the television run by a handful of corporations. It’s so nice to not have to make any more decisions about what I want and what I want to pay for it. May be soon we could have a huge department store in every town that employs people for minimum wage, sells goods made in another country by slaves run by a communist goverment with agregious human rights violatons. And if this huge department store company could ruin the entire economy that would be just perfect!

Gone Fishing says:

I Hate Technology

I’ve been waiting nine years for BellSouth to deliver me DSL. They terminated fiber less than 1/4 mile from me two years ago, but refuse to run DSL out from it. It’s a rural area, and there “aren’t enough potential subscribers” they say. I’d be happy to pay $100 a month for it if they’d just deliver.

They’d be happy to give me a T-1 for $500 a month. Otherwise, I’m stuck with unreliable 128k ISDN, for $65 a month, and the only reason they provide that is because of court order. Part of the settlement when the state sued them over overcharges years ago was that they always have to deliver ISDN wherever and whenever it’s requested in this state. ISDN was state-of-the-art for “broadband” back then, and they court did not consider the possibility of obsolescence.

Not just bashing BellSouth. The cable companies are all the same way. They stop just short coming from every direction and refuse to extend further because there aren’t enough customers. Cell phones don’t work here either, and there’s no broadcast television in range. I can’t get a good line on a satellite because of the mountains, and it’s unsuitable for VPN anyway.

My only alternative is to subdivide my property and build McMansions on it to drive the population up. But the reason I came here was to get away from that environment.

I hate technology and it’s purveyors. My mortgage is paid in 9 more months. I’ll retire and trade in all my technology for fishing tackle.

Valarius (user link) says:

Article has been linked to

Step 1: go to and read the Residential DSL offers.

Step 2: ignore all the crap and scroll all the way down to the bottom right of the page. You’ll see an advertisement that says:

“DSL at even a Lower Price!

Get high-speed Internet for less, plus a free modem after mail-in rebate, for qualifying customers.
See if you qualify”

Step 3: click on the link.

Step 4: buy the $10 DSL and fuck ATT.

Randy McDandy says:

Stop AT&T

AT&T is one of the worst companies on earth. They were broken up once and now have re-purchased the broken parts and re-assembled into the monster they were before. Like the ‘poly-metal-alloy’ terminator. Everyone, tell your friends, tell your congressman, tell everybody you contact to stay away from this evil company. Let’s all finally kill this monster.

Rob Glass says:

Inexpensive DSL

My least expensive DSL service from AT&T / Yahoo ( $15/mo – ~75Kb/sec ) surprised a chum who has developed an interactive video website. He wanted to test his website on a worst-case DSL service. Having found my service entirely adequate, he will switch from cable to DSL.

Thanks for pointing out that DSL Lite exists … that option was not offered when I signed up.

Kenneth E. Walter (user link) says:

AT&T's $10 Legal Settlement

ByteWORKS has classes for needy children and adults and graduated 93 people in 2006. They were given a Pentium III and 17in. monitor, sound card, net card, and 56k phone modem. The city of St. Louis (MO)provided 1yr. of free Internet access from their Community Information Nettwork. This has been canceled and we were delighted to hear of AT&T’s $10 deal. We could not comprehend how to advise our (needy) clientle how to get it. The offer was hidden in small print. Our technicians couldn’t figure it out. Some have added Netzero and others went to AT&T’s $20 plan.

anne r. key says:

kill em with kindness

don”t boycott them – sign up for the $10 dsl, if you can. Not only will it prove the CEO wrong – people do want reasonable pricing, it could bankrupt them! If, in fact, this is a money losing burden to AT&T, then a mass switch to the plan should put them out of business faster then boycotting them will.

it’s up to us to demand accountability from our elected officials, from the smallest city government to the President of the US. Politicians are public servants, and we are the public they serve. We also need to hold ourselves accountable. If a proposed “solution” to a “problem” has backing from 90% of the population, four years later, you can’t blame officials for going along – it’s their job, supposedly, to do what we want – if public opinion has changed to 70% DISapproval.

most talk big but when push comes to shove – or election day rolls around – they buy into the 15 second sound bites and go with name recognition over ideology. How else could CA end up with the Governator?

Rob Mick (user link) says:

AT&T and Regulatory collusion on DSL

Of course AT&T has a $10 DSL, and of course its not satisfacotry. How fast does it work? For $10/mo it probably isn’t much better than dial-up, but it is DSL. The regulators (FCC) required a $10/mo DSL, but without specifying performance. It got the FCC off the hook for allowing a merger that further dismantled the 1996 Telecom Act, and let an ILEC continue in the process of rebuilding its monopoly. I saw this crap happen when I was a Central Office manager for a CLEC, and its a cycle that will continue for as long as the government plays both sides of the street: they allow a compnay to develop a monopoly (with regulaiton), until the abuses of the monopoly cause sucha clamor among consumers that the polititians are compelled to intervene and break it down. It creates abit of a wild-west scenario in the marketplace, but I guess its better than a Command Economy like the USSR had.

Terry Sarkel says:

The new AT&T sucks BIG TIME!!!

I’ve been with Bellsouth for years and have had good, reliable service. The DSL service had its bugs in the beginning but sorted itself out within two months. Now AT&T comes along and my DSL runs for sh*t!! I don’t know what they did but it locks up constantly now. And this didn’t start until AT&T took over. I need to research Dish Network’s DSL to find out if it has better service and fewer complaints.

Terry Sarkel says:

The new AT&T sucks BIG TIME!!!

I’ve been with Bellsouth for years and have had good, reliable service. The DSL service had its bugs in the beginning but sorted itself out within two months. Now AT&T comes along and my DSL runs for sh*t!! I don’t know what they did but it locks up constantly now. And this didn’t start until AT&T took over. I need to research Dish Network’s DSL to find out if it has better service and fewer complaints.

Jason Cornett says:

The Big $10 Online Lie

Pursuant to this discussion, I just tried to check whether or not $10 access is available to me by using the qualifier on AT&T’s website. No matter what phone number you enter, or which address you try, the website always gives you an error message instructing you to call due to a technical problem (error code 76). Now, to test this even further, I entered the address for the White House, and it gave me an error message. If you can’t obtain it at the White House, I guess it’s just not possible for big ol’ AT&T to offer $10 DSL anywhere in the free world. Shame on their leadership, shame on their employees, and shame on the folks who allowed a merger that should never have happened.

J. Munday says:

AT&T and it's many deceits

Lived in Miami previously and when AT&T took over my dial-u[
system wouldn’t work (suddenly) on any of my 3 computers.
Message given was: “connection cannot be made). Win XP
said modem was O.K.

Moved to CT (where AT&T also just took over) and found
computers won’t work. Was ACTUALLY told by an AT&T service
rep that my homeline is “just for telephone calls – and I
have to sign up for DSL if I want to get online (at $19.95
monthly + a “one time” $45. connection charge.

Found out that as part of the agreement to take over in CT
AT&T was told it MUST offer naked DSL for 2 years — but
reps deny that and say the customer MUST have a homeline
or they can’t sign up for DSL.

AT&T is representative of the Bush strategy of “all for
us (big business) and to hell with the middle class and
their finances.

Darrell Cummings says:

DSL Lies

I have been trying to get DSL for years,before Bell South was Gobbled by AT&T, The deal when taking over Bell South , AT&T was supposed offer $10. DSL.
Was that just the ramblings low-class CEO’s ?????
PS: My Extremely POOR Dial Up service premium has RAISED $5.00
But of course Corporations have destroyed our once great country. so why not AT&T Also?

margie says:

since AT&T introduced their new & improved website

the service is crappier than before. I talked to their tech support and they finally offered to send me a new start-up disc. When I told them I have a MAC, they had to double check the answer but the answer I got was “we don’t have start-up discs for Macs” (they did 5 years ago!) thanks a lot. Crappy service forever, I guess. hotmail and gmail are looking better all the time.

jcole says:


I just signed up for DSL with AT&T and it was pretty clear that they had $10 DSL…and the CEO was right…I didn’t want that crappy service. I want DSL so I can download video and music….your not gonna get that for $10 a month. Everybody needs to look realisticaly at things and quit bitchin. If you dont want to use AT&T nowdays you dont have to with all of the options out there!

mike says:


Back in November 2007 I ordered the $10 DSL on the Internet and got a confirmation that it was approved and to wait 10 days for the modem to arrive in the mail. It never arrived so I called them and they said they could take my order by phone and told me when my bill arrived it would say $24.95 and that I would have to call them and they would adjust the amount to $10.00. When I got the bill I did what they said and they told me that would take care of it. I just recently found out that they never corrected my bill and they been charging me $24.95 since November. I asked to talk to a supervisor and she refused to reimburse me for the months that I was overcharged. That is when I really started to get pissed off. She said that there was no records showing that I qualified for the #10.00 service. I explained everything to her exactly as it happened and she pretty much ignored everything I told her. I took down her name and phone number and told her I was going to file a complaint. Does anyone know who I can talk to so I can get this resolved? Any help wuold be great.

Chris R says:

AT&T and their shady billing practices. never in my life would I do business with them.

Their promotions and deals are so shady, they don’t specify the instructions on how to redeem such rebates they somehow conveniently *forget* to include the rebate form in the box, and by the time you call them to follow up with it, it is *expired.

*BE SURE* to take a screenshot and copy/paste the summary of charges and email it to yourself, because they do not keep the record themselves (which most likely is a lie), and what’s shown on the billing summary on the screen when you sign up and the actual billing statement are quite different. and without the proof, you will be screwed. In my case, even with the proof, they blatantly said “no guarantees”

They promoted the new phone line activation fee of $40 waiver, and on the summary of charges, it was specified -$40.00, but on my first billing statement, the waiver has somehow disappeared and when I called them to follow up on it, they denied such promotion and claimed that there was no proof.

I am so glad I had copy/pasted the order summary specifying the amounts, and they said fax it over and then they’ll see what they can do, but they said still no guarantees.

I used to respect AT&T like 10 years ago, but now they need to go out of business. I knew the CSR was just doing what was instructed to do by his manager, and when I called them on their shady billing practices, he didn’t speak out, but I knew he was silently in agreement.

They’re now just a shady company conducting shady business and just out to get innocent customers.

They need to cease to exist.

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