>AT&T Watchdog – the latest

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Some folks might ask me; if the service is so bad why not switch?  Well, as the old phrase goes, evil can only take hold when good men do nothing.  In reality, I can only be a direct observer if I continue to be a customer.  I have met a few good people at AT&T over the course of my ongoing journey and hope that they can influence the direction of a company which was once a company in America where our country had pride.  Unfortunately this is not the case today.  Survey after survey rank AT&T customer service as the worst in any industry.  At the height of the BP oil disaster the perceived service view of many might have been that BP retained a better customer service image than AT&T.

Today the news reports items such as AT&T purchasing T-Mobile.  I suppose if you have a customer base who are very unhappy and go elsewhere if you have the money you can just purchase the “elsewhere” your customers migrated to after they left you.  Bell Telephone was broken up years ago.  Seems as if they are putting the pieces back together using various methods including the purchase of their competition.

Other news stories point out where AT&T DSL customers are being migrated to the higher cost Uverse service whether they wish to migrate or not.  Their charges will increase.  On top of increased charges and the activity needed to schedule an appointment for the install of home premise equipment they will now be part of the Uverse customer base.  The Uverse Internet customers are going have what had always been unlimited home Internet access limited in the future.  There will be additional charges for going over a monthly allotted usage.  The charts and guidelines are in my original blog near the bottom of the piece at

http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html 

In November of 2010 my ATT Uverse went down.  Over the course of the next week I documented the issues as I tried to get the problem resolved.
Over the following months I had other problems in many areas such as billing, account ownership and technical issues.
My issues were documented in a blog entry.  I continued to add events to the blog over time.  The blog kept growing in length. 
As of today, 4/2/11, 78,461 people have read the blog.  Since the original blog, last updated 4/1/11 was getting so large as there is so much ongoing material, I felt than I would add new information to new blog entries.  And, new information is rarely a problem.
The last entries at the bottom of the original blog post are not my technical problems.  They are issues of AT&T and the purchase of T-Mobile and the issue AT&T moving forward with their converting their current DSL customers to Uverse whether they wish to convert or not.  Part of the conversion dynamic is bandwidth limitation for all Internet usage for all of their customers.
Prior problems of mine, past T-Mobile information and past Internet policy changes can be seen on by blog at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html
Moving along to today….
These are my broadband errors so far this month.  I think that it borders on criminal that AT&T feels they can charge more when they provide service such as this.  If the Public Utilities Commission and our government allows AT&T to change their Internet policy (bait and switch?) of their current customer base OR allow the T-Mobile purchase to move ahead it will be one more reason many have lost faith in our government.  If a company has enough money it seems as if they can do anything.

I realize I am on an old copper infrastructure and I would expect errors and drops of service.  What I would not expect is that AT&T intends to raise my rates and eliminate what they sold to me; unlimited home internet usage.

INF 2011-04-01T02:00:26-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…

INF 2011-04-01T02:01:12-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-01T18:08:21-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-01T18:09:05-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-01T18:57:50-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-01T18:58:35-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-02T14:21:35-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-02T14:22:20-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-05T15:17:50-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-09T00:55:32-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-09T00:56:18-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-10T03:01:58-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-10T03:02:43-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-12T11:32:57-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting…
INF 2011-04-12T11:33:43-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting…

As a side note, the tools I use to monitor AT&T network performance are the same tools as they use.  AT&T NCC (network control center) and NOC (network operations center) have access to this same information.  AT&T and myself can indeed compare apples to apples.

 
Until AT&T updates most of it’s old infrastructure there is no justification in my mind where they can charge people MORE money.  
 
The area where I live is serviced by an old copper infrastructure which is very old.  This is not fiber.  Electricity travels through a piece of wire.  Data (digital information) travels on the surface of a piece of wire.  The surface of this old copper has corrosion, nicks and imperfections that become more intrusive as the years pass.  The reliability declines over time.  My profile has already been changed to increase the decline in reliability although performance also needed to be reduced.
 
Some of my network chops came from a decade at Infonet where I was head of tech support, head of product development and in my last four years of ten years VP of Operations and Engineering.  I was directly responsible to design, maintain and deploy global networks using IP, X.25, Frame Relay and ATM technology.  One of Infonet’s owners was BT who is now the parent company today.  More on BT if you wish to learn more at http://www.globalservices.bt.com/HomeAction.do 
 
Bottom line here; I have a bit of network and communications knowledge.
 
So, here are a few AT&T recent news items for this blog entry….
 
AT&T’s $140 Million Among Top U.S. Payments for Early Retiree Health Costs
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-31/at-t-and-verizon-received-retiree-health-subsidies-u-s-says.html  Yes, they even cost folks who are not AT&T customers money.  Makes one wonder about our government as well?  Eight U.S. companies that earned more than $10 billion last year, led by AT&T Inc. (T), were among recipients of a government program that paid $1.8 billion toward elderly retirees’ health-care costs, a report shows.

CenturyLink CEO: Still Analyzing Impact Of AT&T, T-Mobile Deal – http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110401-711946.html

In America, if one puts something in writing, one can do whatever they wish.  Our legal system does not understand the difference between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law.  Look at item number 1 in the AT&T contract and terms of service at
 
Just in case AT&T changes their policy again in the future I will copy and paste the first two points in their current policy.
 
1. Changes to the Service & This Agreement
 
From time to time, we may change this Agreement, the Site, or Service, including the rates and charges. We will provide you with thirty (30) days notice of material changes via either your Member Account e-mail address or U.S. mail. It is your responsibility to check your e-mail address for any such notices. Your continued subscription to the Service after receipt of such notice constitutes your acceptance of such changes.
 
We may also, from time to time, make temporary changes to your Service. If a temporary change is made that would have a material impact on your Service, AT&T will give you at least thirty (30) days notice. The terms and conditions for such changes will be included in the notice and incorporated by reference into this Agreement at: www.att.com/temporaryterms. Your continued subscription to the Service after receipt of the notice constitutes your acceptance of the changes and the associated terms and conditions. In lieu of notice and website posting, AT&T may instead, at its sole discretion, require customers to enter into an agreement with AT&T regarding temporary material changes.
 
2. AT&T High Speed Internet Service Description
 
The Service is composed of narrowband or broadband access to the Internet. The Site is composed of a broad selection of on-line resources including email, communication tools, forums, shopping services, search services and personalized content and branded programming. Broadband access is provided in speed tiers of: (1) 200 Kbps to 768 Kbps downstream (not available for AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service), (2) 769 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps downstream; (3) 1.56 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps downstream; (4) 3.1 Mbps to 6.0 Mbps downstream; (5) 6.1 Mbps to 10.0 Mbps (available only with AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service); and (6) 10.1 Mbps to 18 Mbps downstream (available only with AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service) (collectively “Service Capability Speeds”). AT&T may periodically introduce additional speed tiers. Because these speed tiers may become available before this Agreement is updated, you should check http://www.att.com for the most current product information. For purposes of clarity, this Agreement applies to all speed tiers offered by AT&T, even those which are not specifically identified above.
 
The speeds identified above are Service Capability Speeds, which are the downstream rates at which your line transfers Internet access data between the network interface device at your home, office or apartment building to the first piece of routing equipment in AT&T’s network. Service Capability Speeds should not be confused with Throughput Speed, which is the speed at which your modem receives and sends Internet access data (“Throughput Speed.”). These speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Throughput speed depends upon many factors including customer location, destination and traffic on the Internet, interference with high frequency spectrum on your telephone line, wiring inside your home, office or apartment, the capacity or performance of your computer or modem, the server with which you are communicating, internal network factors, and the networks you and others are using when communicating. In order to provide a consistently high-quality video service, AT&T Uverse High Speed Internet throughput speeds may be temporarily reduced when a customer is using other U-verse services in a manner that requires high bandwidth. This could occur more often with higher speed Internet access products. In order to enhance reliability and consistency of performance, some broadband access lines may be provisioned at less than the maximum speed capability but within the range of speed purchased.
 
Feel free to send this blog entry and past blog entries on this subject to others.  Ask them to forward this to others.  Send to the news media and to your government representatives.  Perhaps we can work together to put some aspects of this country back on track and request that our elected officials keep a close watch on companies lile AT&T.

4/4/11 – Lawmaker has concerns over mobile megamerger

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/01/us-tmobile-att-walden-idUSTRE7305EJ20110401

The entire story can be read via the link above.  A bit of the lead in:  (Reuters) – A U.S. lawmaker with oversight of technology expressed concern that AT&T Inc’s plans to take over T-Mobile USA would stifle innovation in the wireless market.

Representative Greg Walden, chairman of the House subcommittee on communications and technology, said he did not want to see a merger diminish the vibrant and competitive nature of wireless.

AT&T’s $39 billion bid to buy Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA would concentrate 80 percent of U.S. wireless contract customers in just two companies — AT&T/T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

AT&T, currently the No. 2 U.S. mobile carrier behind Verizon, has said the merger will spur innovation and economic growth by improving quality and expanding wireless service to 95 percent of Americans.

But Walden expressed concern about eliminating a national carrier.

4/11/11 There have been many news stories since my last post.  Here are a few today:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/copps-too-many-disturbing-ramifications-in-at-t-s-merger-with-t-mobile-20110411
Copps: Too Many ‘Disturbing’ Ramifications in AT&T’s Merger With T-Mobile
Companies haven’t shown public benefits in wireless deal, FCC panelist says.

AT&T, T-Mobile Merger Gets Senate Hearing – http://www.intomobile.com/2011/04/11/may-11-day-tmobile-and-att-have-face-senate-judiciary-antitrust-subcommittee/

May 11: The day T-Mobile and AT&T have to face the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee
http://www.mobiledia.com/news/86603.html

How AT&T’s Acquisition of T-Mobile Will Affect their 4G Networks
http://www.goingwimax.com/how-atts-acquisition-of-t-mobile-will-affect-their-4g-networks-12850/

4/12/11 – A few stories today …

My hat is off to the FCC. Kudos! Thankfully somebody is doing something about this. For the moment the FCC is on my good guys list 🙂 …

AT&T’s Purchase of T-Mobile Questioned on Prices by FCC Official – http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-12/at-t-s-t-mobile-usa-takeover-questioned-by-fcc-official-over-price-impact.html

AT&T, T-Mobile Deal Faces Pushback — InformationWeek – http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/3G/229401444

4/13/11

Looks like AT&T is already putting their stamp on T-Mobile. Many of us saw this coming as soon as AT&T broke news of their T-Mobile buy, their Uverse price increase, their revoking of unlimited Internet for home use as well as with their cell service etc.

T-Mobile’s 4G unlimited plan slows data after user exceeds 2GB threshold
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/04/t-mobiles-7999-unlimited-4g-data-plan-slows-down-web-data-speeds-after-2gb.html

4/14/11

Kan. gov. to sign bill loosening rules for AT&T – The bill makes it easier for AT&T to avoid a state cap on rates for stand-alone, local landline service that still apply in many of the areas it serves.
Shame on you Gov. Brownback. AT&T moving facilities to Kansas? I suppose if we dig deeper there are possible tax breaks for AT&T as well? – http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MJ2U303.htm

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About laeconomy

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time. I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century. I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com
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