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We're the Phone Company

Ed Grochowski

Posted 7-5-2013

No Soliciting

The evil phone company AT&T just sent two more salespeople to my front door, begging me to switch to AT&T's U-verse television, Internet, and phone service. This is the dozenth visit I have had from AT&T salespeople over the last five years. In addition, AT&T has been sending me junk mail on a weekly basis.

I have steadfastly declined to switch to U-verse.

Apparently, AT&T does not keep a record of what I tell the previous salespeople, because the next salesperson invariably asks the exact same questions.

  • Yes, I presently have AT&T landline phone and DSL service. I have had both services for years.
  • No, I am not interested in signing up for AT&T television service. I do not own a television. You can not make me want one.
  • Yes, my DSL speeds are adequate.
  • No, I do not want fiber optics. I know that AT&T is being deceptive: they offer fiber optic service to the node, not to homes. The wire coming into my house will not change after switching to U-verse.

What do I want?

I want the same voice and Internet service that I presently have, but at a lower price.

Follow the Money

The real problem is that AT&T's prices have skyrocketed over the last four years. The DSL rate has nearly tripled. The landline phone rate has increased by 60%. U-verse is AT&T's way of extracting even more money from customers.

As expected, the AT&T salesperson can not offer a lower rate than what I am paying today. That ends the salesperson's visit.

Lily Tomlin Said It Best

Dealing with the phone company reminds me of Lily Tomlin's famous parody of AT&T commercials on Saturday Night Live in 1976.

So, the next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two Dixie cups with a string? We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

While AT&T is obligated by the government to provide traditional phone service, they are not obligated to provide data service. I expect that AT&T will eventually phase out all DSL. At that time, I will either be forced to switch to U-verse, or to find a new Internet provider.

Through the Looking Glass

Unfortunately, the only other Internet provider in my area is Comcast. Together, AT&T and Comcast give me a mental image of Alice in Wonderland's Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Despite being two different people, they are identical.

All of this underscores the need for real competition, not the phone company/cable company duopoly that we have today.