AT&T is Out of Control
Ed's Annual Utility Bill (see notes)
Yet Another Rate Hike
I received the latest bill from AT&T. They have raised the rates
again. Over the past five years, my AT&T bill has
doubled. Yet, the service has remained exactly the same
(landline voice and 768Kbit DSL).
AT&T has been the most expensive utility since 2011. AT&T is
well ahead of the next most expensive utilities, electricity and natural
gas (PG&E), and water. AT&T positively eclipses the garbage
collection company. AT&T's rates are especially outrageous
considering that they transmit only information, whereas the
other utilities supply energy or transport physical materials.
The difference has been that AT&T has largely decoupled itself from
government regulation. For most of its history, landline telephone
service was like all other utilities: highly-regulated in exchange for a
government-granted monopoly. Unfortunately, during the last decade, the
government has taken the attitude that the phone market has sufficient
competition, and so regulation is no longer necessary. The result has been
Internet service has not been regulated to the same extent, but the
problem has been that there are only two providers in my area: the phone
company and the cable company. They are like bad and
worse. Each company need only be no worse than the other.
It's Your Future
Access to information is a necessity. Unfortunately, with so few
providers and no real competition, rates will continue to climb skyward.
The government needs to step in and strike a better balance between the
information utilities and consumers. It's your future.
- Utility bills are measured from the middle of the previous year to
the middle of the stated year.
- My electricity consumption increased by $50/year in 2013 and
$100/year in 2014 due to the purchase of a water distiller. Even so, my
energy consumption is among the lowest in my neighborhood according to
- AT&T offered a reduced DSL rate up until early 2010 as a
provision of government's approval of the merger of AT&T and
BellSouth. When AT&T ended the reduced rate, the government did not
demand the breakup of AT&T and BellSouth.