Sunday, August 26, 2007

AT&T $10 DSL Vanishes (Again)

AT&T continues to hide its $10 dollar DSL program. The plan, mandated by the FCC when it allowed AT&T to merge with BellSouth was intended as a sop thrown to consumers for the loss of potential "competition" between the two monopolies. As previously reported here it is hard to impossible to find a way to apply f0r the "deal."

Now the Hear Us Now Blog (a project of Consumers Union--the one that doesn't accept advertising) has a story detailing the difficulty a consumer reporter/advocate in St. Louis had in getting access to the plan. Apparently AT&T told the reporter that they'd "fixed" the website to make it more accessible. But, if ever really implemented, the web site changes vanished again. According to Consumers Union one person did succeed...but more than 20 were unable to make it work.

Sounds like lawsuit bait to me. The law is also supposed to apply to large corporations...even if they do curry favor with the administration by cooperating in illegal spying on the American people.

The $10 deal is supposed to be available to any new broadband customer that has AT&T service. I'd be very interested in the experiences of any local folks who've tried to get the deal.

Update 11:51:
Tennessee's Regulatory Authority has some questions about it:

Phone company officials also say they've made changes to make the $10 Internet easier to find on its Web site. Hicks explained the new six-step process of finding the offer online at Monday's TRA meeting.

Jones, the TRA director, asked Hicks, "How will citizens who don't have Internet connections be able to take advantage of the offer if you don't advertise to them in some medium other than on the Internet?"

"I think there's been a lot of media coverage about the $10 offer and they would have general knowledge of it,'' Hicks said.

He said customers who don't have Internet access at home could "go to a friend or family member's computer or the public library computer."

Cough, Cough...six steps? media coverage of an alternative you're hiding? the only way to buy internet is to already have access to it? AT&T doesn't pay hacks like Hicks enough; I'm certain. How much is your pride worth?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey dipshit. the "spying on american people" deal isnt on american people,but people suspected of terrorism. Good thing your dumb ass isn't a terrorist huh, then I guess you'd have grounds to complain. Fuckin moron.

John said...

The few, the proud, the brave, the anonymous jackbooted illiterates demonstrate their lack of understanding of what America's freedom is supposed to be about.

Yet again...

Hey, it's not Americans they are spying on its, its suspected terrorists...now the distinction is clear: apparently anyone that isn't willing to agree that this government's "suspicions" are enough to cancel our freedoms is really a terrorist.

I suggest that just the opposite is the case.

Nicholas said...

Dear Anonymous,

Funny, the one fact you state is outright proven false by the linked article saying that the program "permitted eavesdropping without warrants on the international communications of Americans suspected of terrorism ties". It is, indeed, spying on American citizens who are all given certain protection under the Constitution.

Funny, your position would have been better made if you picked on the "illegal" part of the statement. And even that is under rather shaky ground.

Not like you'd bother responding to this anyways. It is a bit amusing, as I'd suspect that John and I would be on opposite side on many political positions otherwise.

Anonymous said...

'Naked DSL': how to find and get the best price
By Michael Sorkin
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Friday, Jan. 18 2008

Here's something you should know when you order DSL service from AT&T: The
company sells the same speed Internet service at $10, $15 and $20 per month.

— The $14.99 service is called Basic DSL and is the easiest to get. Anyone with
an AT&T landline phone can order it by phone or online.

— The $10 DSL service can be ordered only online, and hundreds of consumers
have had trouble signing up for this, the company's cheapest-ever DSL. AT&T
says it won't sell it to anyone who is already an AT&T Internet customer.

— The newest Internet service is called DSL Direct Basic and costs $19.95. It
can be ordered only through an AT&T call center, but some sales reps say they
have never heard of it.

There are four DSL Direct plans; the $19.95 version is the cheapest and
slowest. The Direct plans are the only ones AT&T will sell consumers without
AT&T landlines.

This type of service is known as "naked DSL."

Each DSL Direct plan costs at least $4 more per month than the same plan for
customers who have AT&T landline phones.

DSL users don't need a phone; Internet service works fine without one.

AT&T is free to charge the higher prices because Internet rates are unregulated.

As for the $10, $15 and $20 Internet plans described above, all are rated at
the same speed: up to 768 Kbps downstream. That's too slow for downloading
movies but may be fine for e-mailing or Internet surfing.

Why charge three prices for the same speed?

AT&T spokesman Andy Shaw says customers have different needs. It's not unusual,
he says, for companies to offer different customers different prices.

AT&T offered $10 DSL reluctantly. The company already was charging higher
prices for Internet service and had no incentive to offer it so cheaply.

As for naked DSL, AT&T wants to sell you as many services as possible:
landline, Internet, cell phone and video. That's called bundling. Naked lets
consumers avoid bundling by choosing only what they want.

But about a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission required AT&T to
offer the lower-cost services in exchange for approving its purchase of
BellSouth.

AT&T began quietly offering $10 DSL about midyear on its website. AT&T said it
would not provide a phone number or e-mail address for anyone needing help.

By the end of the year, the company also began offering naked DSL. It is
quickly gaining popularity with the growing number of computer users who have
traded landlines for cells.

The FCC is requiring AT&T to offer a naked DSL plan for less than $20. An AT&T
spokesman said last month that consumers shouldn't sign up for the $19.95
service online or by calling. He told them to go to company stores.

That advice turned out to be wrong, and Savvy received more than a dozen
complaints.

Mindy Lynn Thomason, a financial analyst from St. Charles, hurried to an AT&T
store, where "they told me I could only sign up by calling."

She called — and reached a sales rep who said he couldn't help her.

This week, AT&T's Shaw offered different advice: He said to sign up for the
$19.95 Direct Basic only through a company call center.

That $19.95 plan is AT&T's cheapest naked DSL service — and the only one for
which the company requires a 12-month contract. The other plans are
month-to-month.

AT&T's site says to call 1-800-288-2020 to sign up for its more expensive DSL
Direct plans ($23.99 to $38.99.) We reached a sales rep who said he knew
nothing about any such plans and transferred us to 1-800-264-0002.

As first reported by hearusnow.org on the Consumers Union website, AT&T is
asking callers seeking naked DSL to provide their AT&T landline phone number.
We were asked three times.

But consumers who want naked DSL won't have a landline — and don't want one.
That's why they want naked.

"They want to sell you a phone line," Thomason said after her experience.

She says after nearly a day, she finally connected with a sales rep who signed
her up for AT&T's $28.99 Direct Pro DSL plan. Service started this week, and
she's delighted.

But she chides the company for making it so hard: "They do a good job of hiding
it."

We called AT&T's Shaw, who responded:

"I apologize. We want everyone who calls in to be a customer. The vast majority
of these orders work. Sometimes we make a mistake, and we try to fix it."

msorkin@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8347