AT&T's 'IP Transition' Will Make U.S. Broadband Even Less Competitive

from the ill-communication dept

AT&T has spent a massive amount of time the last few years harping on the need to speed up the “IP transition.” On its surface the idea seems reasonable; the nation needs to begin migrating from older copper DSL and phone technology toward new IP solutions, such as wireless and fiber to the home, the former being easier to deploy to rural areas, and the latter having much lower maintenance costs while being able to deliver faster speeds. AT&T is going state-by-state insisting that if lawmakers gut consumer protections governing these older networks, newer, better networks will spring forth from the ashes to help forge a better tomorrow, as this charming video makes clear:

Aren’t those little railroad men saddled with antiquated regulations and ancient technology adorable?

The problem is that AT&T’s version of the network of tomorrow for millions of users is going to mean significantly fewer choices and worse, more expensive service than ever before. While it’s true many people are moving away from copper phone service, unmentioned by AT&T’s video is the fact that millions of customers remain on copper-based DSL because it’s the only choice they have and the only one AT&T offered. While AT&T has selectively upgraded some users to their faster but still not fiber to the home U-Verse VDSL platform (about half of their fixed-line network), tens of millions of AT&T and Verizon’s DSL customers aren’t going to be upgraded anytime soon. Instead, they’re going to be hung up on or sold to smaller telcos with even less interest in upgrading them than AT&T did.

Enjoy the magic of tomorrowland, everyone!

While new DSL deployments and upgrades can be expensive (AT&T has always had the funds, they’ve just long placed investor returns well above offering quality product and support), existing DSL customers are perfectly profitable. They’re simply not profitable enough for impatient investors, whose eyes are squarely fixed on wireless with its low usage caps and per gigabyte overages, even if wireless is not (especially at AT&T prices) an adequate replacement for a fixed line. Refusing to upgrade fixed-line networks could almost be excused if it wasn’t for the fact that, with their other hand, AT&T has long lobbied for protectionist legislation across multiple states banning towns and cities from upgrading themselves – – even in cases where nobody else will.

Once AT&T has gutted any remaining consumer protections and regulations on copper lines (which were over time quite heavily subsidized by taxpayers, but who cares, right?), they’re going to walk away from many areas — leaving users with either the choice of more expensive wireless (many rural users won’t be able to get), or a suddenly emboldened and stronger cable monopoly. AT&T and Verizon are quietly ceding huge swaths of America’s fixed-line broadband market to cable, who’ll be sure to jack up prices in the face of less competition than ever. This before you even factor in the smaller ISPs that might have been using those telco lines to offer competing services (whoops, sorry!).

The use of “all IP” is also quite a lovely bit of conflation and misdirection, given the company’s U-Verse and DSL users are already IP-based. You’ll see the “all IP” rhetoric popping up in an endless series of editorials (like this one by Steve Forbes) AT&T has been running nationwide to convince people they really don’t need that DSL line they’re using. Larry Downes at CNET recently informed readers that AT&T’s simply interested in “connecting more Americans to the broadband ecosystem.” Nothing quite says connecting more Americans like disconnecting Americans.

The FCC recently started paying closer attention to this “IP transition” when Verizon’s version of it involved refusing to repair east coast DSL customers after Hurricane Sandy. Instead, after waiting months for repairs, customers were given something Verizon is calling Voice Link — a wireless service that locals complained was dramatically less functional and reliable than their previous copper DSL and phone lines, failing to offer basic features or data, leaving Comcast (which had no problem financing coaxial repairs) as the only regional fixed-line broadband competitor in many of these areas. Verizon was using the storm as cover to back out of areas they no longer want to service, though they fell under criticism by the New York AG for violating PSC rules.

To tackle the general technical problems with the “IP transition” (will my home security system still work? Can I even get a reliable LTE signal in my basement? Will 911 work?), the FCC has proposed a series of observed technical trials. AT&T has announced that their version of these trials will involve migrating two tiny towns to presumably LTE wireless and U-Verse over the next few years, after which AT&T and the FCC will likely proclaim the trial to be a smashing success. Ignored by AT&T, the FCC, and the press so far has been the fact that as AT&T and Verizon back away from DSL, they’re going to be leaving an even less competitive broadband market than we have now — at a time when everyone pays endless lip service to improving broadband competition.

The next time you read in the press about the “IP transition,” (and you’ll be reading about it a lot) notice how quickly everybody applauds the idea that copper is just so lame, old fashioned and unnecessary. Then notice how, buried under the pageantry, nobody seems to recognize that what’s actually happening here is simply the lopping off of unwanted DSL customers that companies are refusing to upgrade. That in turn will lead to a stronger cable monopoly across half the country, resulting in cable companies — like the freshly-merged Time Warner Cable Comcast — feeling free to impose more draconian usage caps than ever before. Welcome to the “all IP” networks of tomorrow. Watch that first step.

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Companies: at&t, verizon

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Comments on “AT&T's 'IP Transition' Will Make U.S. Broadband Even Less Competitive”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And if they’d like this, what are the terms for them repaying all of the cash we’ve given them to do what they never actually did do?
I’m sure with the billions we’ve given them over time we could find someone willing to run wires. Perhaps if it is to difficult for them to do it, it is time to pay some upstarts to come in and shake things up.

I’m sure for billions Google could wire up lots of places, and maybe re-purpose some POTS lines to offer service to those the monopolies just want to hand off to each other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don't let them fool you...

I’m a DSL line customer (two separate DSL lines actually, using DSL over AT&T circuits)… and in order to have DSL, AT&T *requires* both of my DSL lines to have phone numbers…

If they wanted “All IP”, then why would they require this? Obviously, to make more money of me. I don’t need both phone lines, but I do currently need two separate DSL circuits – one for work, one for personal.

The fact is, they hate maintaining their wireline services, period. They would much rather ditch it all and have wireless-only services. I can’t get U-Verse here, I can’t get cable (Comcast is our regional provider, but they don’t have service out where I am). If DSL was not available to me, I would be stuck with wireless or satellite. To make matters worse, I can barely get a wireless signal at my house due to the rural hilly terrain.

Basically, AT&T wants to ditch me as a customer completely.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Don't let them fool you...

“Basically, AT&T wants to ditch me as a customer completely.”
yes and no.. they want to force you to take “uverse”, so they can abandon their copper plant eventually. 2020 is when they plan to be all wireless service.

they’re selling 18mbps adsl2 as uverse when it’s really just their legacy dsl at a different frequency. uverse is tv service with the option of internet and ip phone service.

so basically they get out of their requirements to maintain the lines because the FCC is giving them exception for some reason once the dial tone is taken off the line.

slick move but will lead to worse service down the line. it’s already happening, just depends which market you’re in. so if you’re area isn’t covered, then they no longer have to provide you with pots service (same method of delivery as dsl), so they can legally drop you as a customer at that point. and they will

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think I’ll answer that one with a quote, funnily enough from the very person who wrote this article.

‘This is all before you realize that former FCC boss Michael Powell now runs the top cable lobbyist organization the NCTA. Or that former FCC ommissioner Meredith Attwell Baker is also now a Comcast lobbyist. Or that DOJ Antitrust Division director William J. Baer also represented NBCUniversal during Comcast?s acquisition. Or that top Comcast policy man David Cohen is a huge Obama fund raiser, and he and CEO Brian Roberts are golfing friends.’

Pretty much the only thing holding back the merger(assuming it hasn’t been approved already), is them trying to figure out a good enough spin on it so people won’t be overly up in arms about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a bad sign when even irrelevant third world countries are starting to have better Internet than us. There’s no excuse for Americans to be stuck with 1990s quality Internet service. I shouldn’t have to expat, pay outrageous sums of money, or be lucky enough to live in a city where I can opt to have an ISP that doesn’t mutually backscratch corrupt officials and/or its (other) highest bidders.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“they will pay (lobby) our government to keep it that way.”

You just answered your own question. The “great” thing about capitalism is that it encourages every company to externalize all costs, whether it be monetary, environmental, or social. AT&T externalized their costs by buying favors in government to give them billions to establish and maintain a oligopoly.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

What Greevar said. There has never been such a thing as capitalism without the government being in there somewhere. From its infancy, capitalism has been all about the cronies getting cozy.

They’ve got away with it for so long by conflating Mom ‘n’ Pop businesses with multinational corporations and claiming it’s the same thing, but bigger. It’s not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You are associating the failure of government with an economic system. While it is impossible to separate government from economy, it is not impossible place proper controls to mitigate corruption.

It would certainly help if you would stop blaming the greedy more than the corrupt! Keep these things in mind next time you vote R or D. The greedy are just greedy, but corrupt politicians are a bigger problem you can’t seem to see.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Insane State Regulation =/= Capitalism. All these laws are designed to circumvent the market and make it literally impossible to compete with incumbents. All of this is done by the government at the behest of rent seeking corporations.

A more accurate rendering of your comment should actually be:

“Anyone that praises Democracy should be slapped in the face and directed to this.”

as it is politicians, not the market, ruining everyone’s day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

you won’t believe how bad it actually is. they have hired all new employees to handle this “new” tech. and with that comes out sourced support, lower paid techs, etc. all leading to a inferior product.

in areas where they’re required to offer legacy services, it’s a whole different company. and that company offers a reliable product. too bad they’re doing everything they can to get rid of it.

hopefully the US gvmnt will not let the copper network go to ruin once ATT has dropped it. even if it means they have control over the backbone/services. you’ll never beat a wired connection for security and reliability with satellite or wireless service.

the worst thing that can happen is to let small isp’s purchase what they can randomly, all with a different idea of what their service should be.

Smalls (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yep, It’s called and standardization was completed in April ’14. Going to be a game changer which removes 80% of the cost of installing fiber to the home by using an ideal 100m or less of last leg copper. Launch in Europe wasn’t expected until 2016 but has now been moved forward into 2015 because standards weren’t expected any sooner than EOY 2014. I believe this is why you see a mad scramble of movement in telecom M&As. Satellite TV is going to get ran over by IP TV so I’m lost on why AT&T wouldn’t want a TV bundling moat that will dry up on the web. This is where the net neutrality fight comes into play. Antitrust position when an ISP/video bundler is throttling competitive video feeds.

Paul Timmins (user link) says:

AT&T is trying to hasten the transition in MI

In Michigan, AT&T is trying to push Senate Bill 636 through the house of representatives as we speak. I discuss this in more detail here:

The law as written tries to force the IP transition by 2019, and if it doesn’t happen, they can just “leave the market” entirely, which would free them of all wholesale obligations and let them disconnect any remaining POTS lines they want.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: AT&T is trying to hasten the transition in MI

what’s bad is when one of the new uverse salesmen calls and threatens to turn your legacy dsl/pots service off if they don’t swap to the new “faster” ipdsl. it’s completely a bluff 9 times out of 10.

and most the time they lie and say they can get up to 18mbps for half the price. most people on the 6 or 12m legacy service agrees to swap on that promise alone.

then the installer gets there, has to have maintenance (legacy group) come out because they can’t even get the signal to the premise. i’ve seen 6m dsl work over 24k feet. the cutoff for uverse is 15k ft. and that’s 768kbps. but now they got their legacy service turned off, instantly denied when they try and get it hooked back up due to “uverse” not working like the salesman promised.

the simple solution is keep the same laws and regulations protecting pots service with their ip based services. they are delivered almost identically.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: AT&T is trying to hasten the transition in MI

not to mention the 18mbps “uverse” isn’t even uverse most of the time. if they don’t offer tv service then it’s not vdsl/xdsl. it’s essentially the same service they had before with no consumer protection from the FCC.

don’t get me wrong, the ipdsl is a great product and is better tech, but it’s being used to get out of government protections , no other reason. cheaper labor, more political power to do what they like to the consumer, and the employee. (phasing out union protected legacy jobs for low paid/trained work force who doesn’t even get taught how the service works)
don’t see how that benefits the customer at all.

Andrew Norton (profile) says:

still waiting for my u-verse

Had some really bad storms at the house I lived at in 06, fried the dsl modem and some of the exchange circuits. Guy comes out to fix it. While we’re talking, he’s telling me how they’re installing fiber all in the area (note, I live in town, right by the hospital – in fact the helipad is at the end of my garden). Telling me they’ve just finished the main nearby town (Covington, Ga, better known now as the Hollywood of the South) and they’re going to upgrade down towards us over the next year. They even have the fiber in the stores ready to be installed.
That town still doesn’t have any fiber installed.
A year later I move a bit up the road, towards Covington, and the route they’ve said they’d be installing along. Until 09, every time the AT&T guy came out, I’d ask and be told ‘its planned, but it’s been delayed’. Then they’re just not bothering at all now.
So this area, our only option is AT&T DSL. or we could go for verizon 4G (there is a tower for it here, but it’s the only cell service here, and expensive as hell) Or hughesNet. We can’t even go Comcast because they couldn’t even be bothered to run POCS here let alone any sort of internet. Which is why 8 years on, I’m still paying the same amount for the same connection – $55 for a 6/0.5

I’m sick and tired of AT&T.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: still waiting for my u-verse

You think $55 a month for a 6/0.5 connection is bad? I’m paying $33 a month for a 768 Kbps down, 256 Kbps AT&T DSL connection. When I first got it 4 years ago, it was $20 a month, and that wasn’t a teaser rate.

I called tech support once for a problem we were having, and elevated to Tier 1 tech support. While the tech was checking the line, I asked him if there was any way to get a faster connection. He said I was provisioned for 3 Mbps, so I told him to go ahead and increase the speed to that. He went offline to check with his supervisor, came back, and said he couldn’t do it unless I was willing to switch to U-Verse.

AT&T is actively jacking up the rates on DSL connections and refusing to upgrade speeds even if the line can handle it, all to force people to switch to their U-Verse packages, which are all more expensive and more profitable for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

For what it’s worth, the FCC is accepting comments on the “transition” right now, and as Paul’s article pointed out, this will have more drawbacks then we’re looking at on the surface.

If you have anything to say about the matter, by all means, please do make some noise about this at the very least in their direction.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

The lesson of cell phones

Actually making calls over cells phones sucks. The sound quality is abysmal and you get dropped calls. The only reason people tolerate such poor service is because they’ve traded it for portability.

I don’t want a wireless-only internet, because when I’m at home, I don’t need portability. I need speed, reliability, and a reasonable cost. None of which wireless provides.

It’s a bad, bad tradeoff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The lesson of cell phones

Amusingly, people ask me all the time why I bothered to wire my house with with ethernet, when I could just use wireless…

And I have to educate them on the speed, reliability, and security consequences of using wireless over wired ethernet.

The average Joe seems adverse to wires, and I don’t understand why.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The lesson of cell phones

kind of makes you wonder why the government is letting them out of the wireline business. what are these fiber/copper networks covering the whole country going to be used for? who’s going to own them once they’ve been abandoned for an inferior tech? i have a pretty good idea

i know this is an old post, but now is a pretty important time in the telecommunications world. the consumer doesn’t know anything about it and are being told the wireless service will be an upgrade. which is probably only true in like 10% of their market, lol. make some noise to any local department if you can. unless you want to be paying comcast $150 a month for similar service.

or people can reach out and support the local telephone union, Communication Workers of America (covers a lot of att and verizons rapidly disappearing workforce) who are fighting for these things every day even if the public knows little to none about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

World of Tomorrow

With all my friends and relatives dying from lung infections from all the heavy metal spraying and viruses floating down from the atmosphere and from the floods and earthquakes caused by HAARP and all the armed politicians running around rampant and zombies? have I even mentioned all the zombies? There really isn’t anyone left to communicate with, so I don’t give one or two rat’s asses about what AT&IP are doing on the Verizon..

Joe says:

Lies ... Racists ...

In my area in rural Texas, they (Verizon) want to replace copper with the crappy “Home Phone Connect” cellular service. I already have a cell phone that people can barely understand me on because of crappy service / coverage. A landline is the ONLY way to get a clear call to your boss / clients without looking like a fool. My only Internet option (wireless) is a joke and does not support VOIP well.

Maybe I will play the race card here … all us poor white people get crap service in the country and you go to the ghetto and they have cable modems, DSL, FIOS, full cell signal!

Joe says:

Re: Re: Lies ... Racists ...

No racism here … just calling it like I see it… I shouldn’t have to tip toe around what I observe if I have no bad intentions with race but for the people not smart enough I will rephrase … I have never been in a predominantly black area where they have no cell service or home internet option… I have seen many predominately white areas where there is no cell or landline internet… If it was the other way around Jessie Jackass would be freaking out. I guess it is “socially acceptable” to be racist against whites only…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lies ... Racists ...

the rural areas are suffering because the company isn’t spending the support and tax breaks they get from the federal government for maintaining and upgrading their copper cable. so it’s not just their fault. they’re being allowed to get away with these shady business practices.

instead they’re putting that money into ip based services which basically allows them to wipe their hands clean of any situation they fell like. fiber and ip based services is the future, but they should be regulated just like pots service. end of discussion

but an upside to living rural if you’re in the right spot, they are still required to offer you their services that work. sold, maintained, and installed by a work force who is protected and trained to do the job correctly.

viperlmw (profile) says:

The problem with fiber/wireless that gets overlooked

One of the biggest benefits with POTS, and therefore one of the biggest problems with fiber/wireless, is the function of POTS providing it’s own power source to power fixed line communication devices (telephone sets). Remember, when it comes down to it, we are discussing the ability to COMMUNICATE. Fiber to the prem requires local power, and during power outages, often times requires expensive local batteries, typically at the premis owners expense. While there are methods to eliminate this, I don’t know how extensively this option is deployed. Wireless, of course, requires local power with no option of remote power. So for this and other reasons already stated, when it comes to VOICE, POTS is still KING!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The problem with fiber/wireless that gets overlooked

Not to mention, most POTS circuits are loops, allowing them to continue functioning from either end even if the loop is cut somewhere in the middle.

Where I live, we have a lot of trees, and a lot of bad weather in the winter. It’s common to be out of power due to trees taking out the lines, but with functioning POTS using the same poles due to this redundancy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The problem with fiber/wireless that gets overlooked

at first they offered a free back up battery on POTS to VoIP conversions. for the last year or so it’s been a hundred bucks extra, and it seems like the customer hasn’t even been educated or understands that their phone service is completely reliant on their internet connection. they shove this E911 regulation in at the end of install to cover themselves on all that.

for being promised the same service, there’s so many cases of home security alarms, businesses entire phone systems, fax machines, any customer personal equipment you can think of really ( EVEN HEART MONITORS and other medical equipment), that has failed to work on the CVoIP platform.

so these isp’s can start with a product that works, that they’re required by law to provide anywhere in the country, then force you on to a product that may not work in your specific situation and along with that give them the ability to deny service if it doesnt. who’s benefiting here

microface (profile) says:

I concur with the others AT&T is only trying to force current landline subscribers to more expensive alternatives

I live 1 hour drive from Sacramento, CA in a semi-rural area outside of a main city. This group of houses that used to be a farm has a total population around 3 – 4 k and 2/3 of these people have no DSL!!!! They are forced to use ISDN, Satellite, or if they are lucky and live at the top of a hill have some wireless reception. I am lucky since the growth in this enclave forced AT&T to put in a new exchange, and I was close enough to acquire the DSL. For 30 per month I have a whopping 750Kbits per second download speed. you read that right !!!! 750Kbits per second download speed and I am lucky. The cable company Suddenlink does provide a comparable service so AT&T can claim there is competition in the area !!!
This is a 1 hour drive from Sacramento, CA !!!
When I visit Europe, India, and South KOrea I brag about what their internet provides to others, just to get somekind of fire under the politicians who allowed this sorry state of affairs. MOre competition , more choices, NO MONOPOLIES AT ALL !!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I concur with the others AT&T is only trying to force current landline subscribers to more expensive alternatives

i kinda think the ip services are cheaper and offer way more advancement for future dsl services. the problem is once they can deny you wired service, THEN comes the cheap wireless and satellite services which you have to take or do without.

so basically if copper and fiber networks to the prem isn’t the future then someone needs to get some protection for these new “entertainment” services that the current “utility” services have.

i’ve seen 60 year old pre existing phone lines pushing their highest profile services they have. you could potentially get 1G service running on the same copper. the backbone is there, but they just don’t want to be told what they can and can’t do.

JAQUE BAUER (profile) says:

ATT Propaganda that copper wire is obsolete

This advertising is pure propaganda. ATT cannot provide my community with Uverse although its available to thousands of homes a mile away. The reason may be technical or monetary, so if ATT is unable to overcome those limitations, how the hell can they dump POTS and convert their system to a digital one ? Are they going to run fiber to every home–I doubt it. My phone service is currently delivered overhead wires on poles that run for 2 miles or so. I am fined every month for exceeding the bandwidth caps ATT imposed when they claimed that they must fine those that stream video or download video as those that do hog the internet. Wireline is far from being dead, as ATT will not run optical fiber to the “last mile” which means copper wire is doing the job. In fact ADSL was invented so that copper wire could be used to push high bandwidth information over the copper wire that has been in the ground for 50 years.I hope state and federal regulators are smart enough to see thru the lies and untruths that ATT is spreading in this video. I have 3 choices available for broadband where I live. 1. ATT DSL Extreme–a barely 3mbs service with usage caps and fines. 2. Comcast or 3. Hughes Satellite Internet service. I have 3 for Pay TV. 1. DirectTV 2. Dish network 3. Comcast. I use DirectTV for my TV provider, as Comcast is unable to provide a noise free video signal to my home, because as a Comcast tech told me, they wont spend the money to run a new trunk line out to my community, which is at the end of the line for CATV and POTS services. Copper wire is not obsolete, outdated, inferior, or “old technology.” ATT wants to shirk its responsibility as a public service, and abandon its customers that prefer the POTS, under the guise that copper pairs are like fossils, long dead and of no use. Once they are unregulated by the states and the federal government, prices will increase, and already customer service will get worse. ATT has little competition in the regions it serves, all former Bell operating unit territories, other than Comcast or Time Warner. And by the way, Comcast delivers its services over copper wires, and no one has heard Comcast tell the world that copper wires are old obsolete technology for delivering media and telephone service. Yes I know about the differences between a coaxial cable and unshielded copper pairs, and analog vs digital signaling methods. But the point is that ATT is selling a bill of goods that benefit not the customer, but ATT. ATT as a public service company is a far cry from the former Bell system, both to its employees, and its customers. ATT treats its employees as if they were a company going bankrupt, and treats its customers as fools.

Smalls (profile) says:

Re: ATT Propaganda that copper wire is obsolete

Yep, on the mark Jaque. A technology is coming that is about to prove last leg copper as far from dead. It’s called and standardization was completed in April ’14. Going to be a game changer which removes 80% of the cost of installing fiber to the home by using an ideal 100m or less of last leg copper. Commercial launch in Europe wasn’t expected until 2016 but has now been moved forward into 2015 because standards weren’t expected any sooner than EOY 2014. I believe this is why you see a mad scramble of movement in telecom M&As. Satellite TV is going to get ran over by IP TV so I’m lost on why AT&T would want a TV bundling moat that will dry up on the web. This is where the net neutrality fight comes into play. Antitrust position when an ISP/video bundler is throttling competitive video feeds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ATT Propaganda that copper wire is obsolete

you’re prime example of what is going to be the problem. especially when the country finds out att and verizon want OUT of the wire line business. the truth is the biggest telecommunications provider in this country is going forward with plans to be completely “wireless” within the next 5 years. 2020 to be exact. it’s not on the news much, but it’s all over internal and external podcasts every week. so it’s no secret. type “att 2020” in google and you’ll see randall stephenson himself saying it.

if att wants to abandon their network, fine. but what’s important is what happens to it next. hopefully the US Government won’t let these mega corporations force us into purchasing services that aren’t as secure, reliable, or regulated (among many other red flags). Data storage, records, privacy, price… you name it. these things can’t be left up to a company who is concerned with dollar signs first, customer service last.

if it wasn’t clear that they were doing this for monetary reasons, then why do all the legacy services have great customer support, great response times on outages, techs who fix the problems etc. and just overall better products vs some indian guy in a call center promising you products that you aren’t even eligible for, an installer who can’t even diagnose or repair the problems unless it’s inside the home, getting paid nearly half as much because they literally aren’t trained to fix the cable. in most cases it’s a terminal offense to even attempt the repairs. what’s left of the legacy group (and these jobs are disappearing by the hundreds every year) are the only ones who are allowed to work on the copper cable pairs (protected by the worker union).

it’s really set up as 2 companies now… the low paid, but still physically demanding and high skill level employees, who aren’t being trained to worry about these things and then the very spread out legacy employees who are responsible for maintaining the network, engineering new projects, construction of new projects, basically the ones fighting to keep their jobs while struggling under the weight of holding up the new uverse team as well as the “phone company” responsibilities. which is always only been a means to an end for the company.

basically to answer your question though. unless you’re a government building or a bank, hospital, etc with the means of paying construction costs, engineering, whatever other fees they want to throw in, you name it, to get the service to said location then you’re completely out of luck. but you MIGHT be eligible for some crappy data capped satellite service or throttled down 4g LTE connection. thanks to them probably only having a couple “core” technicians capable of handling these projects left for huge parts of the whole state.

example, that uverse service a mile from your home is probably ready to be hooked up at your home. but that would require engineering to dedicate a cable count to the dslam, update company records, a maintenance tech to splice the pairs in, construction to do this or that. you see where i’m going. they’ve already got rid of most of these positions. sure they are losing money by not just sending a line crew to that location for a week to get things running. but they’re losing more if they aren’t advancing toward the 2020 agenda. that’s att and verizion in a nutshell. despite the face 2016 was att’s most profitable year to date as a company. they can’t afford things such as this…. even though the irony is it’s probably already there and is being ignored to save them backlash when they step away.

Norman Sheehan says:

Refusal of AT&T to restart DSL service from Vacation Hold

In preparing for a 6 week vacation, I called AT&T to place my phone and DSL on vacation hold. Upon returning, I called their customer service to restart my services. AT&T refused to restart my DSL and tried to force me into UVerse. I have learned that if you have UVerse, in the event of a power failure, your phone is DEAD. Is this not a saftey and health problem? I cannot see why the FCC has gone along with this. How many seniors rely on their phone service and feel it is ALWAYS there in case of emergency. How many seniors wear the LIFE ALERT button for emergency. What a scam!!!!!!!

Vickie Mercer (user link) says:

Re: Refusal of AT&T to restart DSL service from Vacation Hold

I have been on the phone for 4 hours this week. There is no Uverse in our small community but there are 800 new DSL hubs that were installed 18 months ago. Because all AT&T employees have been instructed to sell only Uverse, it is the book answer to refuse DSL. Where are the investigative reporters? I have been given a promised that they will call back after getting a credit check completed (what for is a mystery). Of course, no call back. Maybe AT&T is waiting for Google to expand their service from Kansas City and Ogden which is 4 times faster and cheaper.

AJP says:

What they don't tell you about Uverse

Recently inquired about switching over to Uverse (at the insistence of numerous AT&T reps) and was told that the install was easy, use existing wiring, just installing a new router, no problem, cost would be N.C. due to rebate incentives, blah, blah, blah. When installer called to confirm install, I asked him again,”you’re going to be able to use my existing wiring, right?” “Only if you have CAT-5 wiring…”,he replied. My 2-story house was built in 1978, way before CAT-5 wiring was even made. Bottom line is, all my existing phone wiring would have to be abandoned, he was going to drill a hole in the outside wall to install a new wireless router and all my computer/phone equipment would now have to be reconfigured or replaced with “wireless” equipment. The people that sell the Uverse system haven’t a clue as to what’s involved in the installation and most of them can’t give you a straight answer when asked!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What they don't tell you about Uverse

most uverse reps are probably sitting in a call center somewhere overseas reading ONLY what their computer tells them. “oh, you have new uverse hub in your front yard? your neighbors have uverse? well it says here you aren’t eligible. click.” they aren’t being punished for this behavior.

they aren’t even trained to know or deal with these things. they were literally brought in to push out (force layoffs) the teams who in some cases built these platforms and networks and are the only ones capable of running them. they’re the ones who you used to be escalated to in situations like this. now they’re offered a severance package or a position on the uverse team…. all the while you get to wait on hold for someone overseas to hopefully not put you through the same thing again.

they caused a divide within the company by making it “core” workers and uverse workers (thanks to fcc allowing the uverse team be classified under entertainment service and not utility). so the union doesn’t know who to fight for and both wind up suffering. all the while keeping the uverse techs underpaid, overworked, under trained, letting them think one day they can move up to the “core” group. and the core group has good pay, vacation, insurance, retirement, you name it… but the company keeps them in fear of lay offs. so both groups go to the same union to fix things. not remotely possible. even though the uverse guys dream of getting a core job, at the same time see them work 5 days a week while they’re forced to work 6 and weekends, they get to see the core guys leave regardless of what’s going on after 8 hours every day while they will be there for another 4 hours doing uverse installs they can’t even complete because all the core techs who gets the service to their customers house has gone home, seeing the core techs with 4 weeks vacation time vs their 5 days, some wage gaps of 32/hr for core techs to 22/hr for uverse techs, amongst so many other things, despite them hoping for a core job one day they’re bitter for seeing the unfair treatment. while at the same time, the core techs want the installers to have the same treatment, but they’re noticing that the company doesn’t even plan on keeping them around with those benefits. so the uverse guys go to the same union stewards complaining about how much better the core has it, vs the core realizing that the uverse team having the same benefits would mean huge layoffs and with core techs having seniority, the uverse guys would just be pushing themselves out the door. very bad politics on top of a network set up to self implode if they aren’t allowed to get out.

most people just don’t know how much this will effect them, hopefully the government puts its foot down on this before it’s too late. it’s the backbone of our country and is being destroyed purposefully by greed. /rant

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