Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AT&T Cons Kentucky Into Hanging Up On Its DSL Users

Verizon and AT&T want to get out of maintaining or upgrading the tens of millions of users they currently have on aging DSL -- so they can focus on higher profit wireless services. Literally hanging up on these users creates a multitude of problems nobody is discussing, like the fact that many users are fleeing to cable creating a stronger cable monopoly, many of those DSL users will be forced to pay much more money for heavily capped LTE service, and many more won't be able to get LTE service at all when DSL lines are cut, creating connectivity gaps at a time we profess to be interested in eliminating them.

To make this shift possible both AT&T and Verizon have to go state by state convincing lawmakers to gut all of the regulations governing phone companies, especially any requiring they maintain aging and heavily subsidized networks they refuse to upgrade. State lawmakers have been easily duped for years by a quick handshake and some AT&T cash, and this effort appears to be no exception.

Kentucky is the latest to buckle to AT&T cash, the state passing a sweeping deregulation bill AT&T is busy promising them that "modernizing telecom regulation" will revolutionize broadband in the state:

State law requires phone companies to provide basic land-line service as the "carriers of last resort" for households throughout their territories. It also requires the Kentucky Public Service Commission to investigate and resolve consumer complaints. Patrick Turner, an AT&T attorney from South Carolina, said earlier this week that the company was planning to spend $14 billion across the nation to upgrade its Internet service. AT&T would not want to leave its land-line customers because the company wants to increase its Internet service to them, he said.

That last sentence is an outright lie. AT&T's recent promise of broadband expansion is largely a show, designed specifically to get these kinds of bills passed. There is no fixed line broadband expansion planned for Kentucky, and LTE isn't going to be available to all of these users. If it is, it's going to be significantly more expensive than DSL. The bill promises to keep users connected if they live in rural areas with fewer than 5,000 lines, but you can be absolutely assured that the model legislation written by AT&T these bills are based on gives AT&T's plenty of loopholes to work with.

Kentucky is ranked 46 by broadband speed according to FCC data, and with a deregulated AT&T soon hanging up on unwanted DSL and POTS users en masse, that's not changing anytime soon. Anybody telling you that deregulation of AT&T results in benefits for anyone other than AT&T is selling you a line of historically inaccurate nonsense.

Update: Meanwhile, FCC shows AT&T is actually among the worst ISPs when it comes to delivering advertised speeds.

Read more here....

AT&T Lobbyists Hard at Work Gutting Regulations

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