Print 93 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Feb 8 at 8:56 PM

AT&T plans rate increase for broadband service, hopes customers will be willing to pony up cash for higher rates

The state of broadband in U.S. was described in an in depth analysis at DailyTech last year as "pathetic" and "disgraceful".  The industry is plagued with poor service quality, substandard data rates, zealous attempts to limit file-sharing, and most of all high prices.

Fittingly, San Antonion-based AT&T, notorious for at one time suspending user's right to free speech, announced a rate hike.  The rate hike, a $5 flat rate increase to subscribers' current monthly fee, may be financially lucrative for the company, but is likely to make no one else very happy.  The increase, announced Monday by a company spokesman will go into effect in March.  All states besides those acquired by the buyout of Bell South will be effected.  Bell South operated in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, so these states are exempt.

There are some other notable exceptions to the increase.  The increase, while applying to the vast majority of accounts, only applies to the three slowest connections speeds; 768 kbps, 1.5 Mbps, and 3.0 Mbps.  The 1.5 Mbps service tier is AT&T's most used, with 14.2 million subscribers.  Most of these subscribers will be hit with the rate increase.

New subscribers to the 768 kbps service will be exempt, but most people don't choose this option.  Also exempt are customers who signed up under special promotion packages.  These customers are exempt for the remainder of their promotion's term. 

AT&T informed customers of the increase by email beginning last week.  AT&T spokesman Michael Coe states that the increase is to, "to better reflect the value of our broadband service."

AT&T has been having a tough time financially, ever since Chairman and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson announced that he saw weaknesses in the current consumer broadband and cell phone markets.   AT&T has also recently announced a controversial new filtering plan to snoop on consumer's use and block "rogue" file sharing traffic.

The consumer internet world has been having a tough time in the U.S. and abroad of late.  In France, the government threatens an internet tax which would raise prices.  In the U.S. domain tasters exploit the system to take domains and ad-revenue from legitimate users.   Meanwhile, Time Warner recently announced an even more scary proposal for the consumer broadand industry -- usage based billing schemes.  Normal consumer broadband is speed limited, but has no monthly bandwidth limit, to the delight of many downloaders.  Unfortunately, Time Warner labels these individuals "devil users" and looks to curb a feeling of entitlement to "all you can eat" internet.

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Channel Specific Usage.
By Mitch101 on 2/5/2008 3:29:13 PM , Rating: 3
A bit off topic but you mention Time Warner.

You know its well time consumers should be able to selectively choose down to the channel what they want and don't want instead of paying for a package of channels that practically force you to pay for channels you don't want at all. The technology to do this is certainly there so why do I still have to pay for a package when I only want specific channels.

I would like to see some class action lawsuits on false advertising bandwidth as many providers inflate the reality of their bandwidth abilities to fall back on a scapegoat comment of well there are so many factors to their bandwidth and why no one reaches the limits they advertise. 6meg is usually more like 4.7meg at most so they should only be allowed to advertise at 5meg not 6 in this case. 3meg is usually 2.1-2.3. Yes I know there is some overhead to packets but this is not the same as is how you measure a K as 1,000 bytes or 1024 bytes.

Really its time to put the consumer back into control of this BS advertising.

Lets throw in MPG too which is inflated also.

Its all deceptive advertising and shouldn't be tolerated.

Ill give you a perfect example Windstream recently said I could get a 6 meg download and I signed up. After it was installed I measured 2.4 at peak and talking to tech support they told me the best they could do was 3 meg but 6 meg is coming soon. This was all deceptive to get people to switch from cable to dsl by claiming they could deliver something they knew they cant. Fraud. BTW this is the Charlotte area where this is going on.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By Murst on 2/5/2008 3:40:42 PM , Rating: 5
I completely agree that their advertising is rather shady, but it is not false advertising, and certainly not fraud.

When DSL companies do their commercials, they say "up to 5 Mb/s". If you then read the contract, they usually do have some provision that guarantees a certain speed. In my case, when I signed up for a "up to 5 Mb/s" service, that minimum was ~750 Kb/s.

After two weeks, I cancelled the service and went with Time Warner. Its slightly more expensive, but I also get a connection that on average is 14.2 Mb/s in the evenings. The one huge disadvantage is that with DSL I had a static IP, where my IP is dynamic with TW. The difference in speed more than makes up for it (although some people do *need* a static IP, and the TW prices for that here are insane).

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that the advertising is not fraud. It very clearly states that the speeds are maximums, and not guaranteed. In the same way, car companies advertise 0% apr, but are quick to point out that not everyone will qualify.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By FITCamaro on 2/5/2008 3:46:49 PM , Rating: 3
Dynamic IPs are no longer a problem since there's free services out there which will automatically update your IP for when you want to host a website at home. Of course you're not supposed to but who here follows all the rules.

And this price hike is BS. A 768 kpbs connection is only worth $5 a month in my mind. Much less adding $5 to whatever it already costs.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By Murst on 2/5/2008 3:51:33 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not just talking about hosting websites. Most people don't *have* to host websites.

A coworker of mine's wife works for a company that restricts access to their VPN based on IPs. Therefore, you must have a specific IP to log into the VPN, and a service with a dynamic IP will not work. Yes, this is a stupid policy, but this is a case where this person needs a static IP.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By amanojaku on 2/5/2008 4:25:03 PM , Rating: 5

This price hike is NOT BS. How else is AT&T going to pay for all the traffic shaping and snooping equipment??? I mean, really!


RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By Christopher1 on 2/6/2008 7:53:49 AM , Rating: 1
In this day and age, a 768k connection is only worth 5 dollars a month at most.

Think about this: Comcast is 50 dollars a month for a 6Mb connection, FIOS is 30-50 dollars for a 6 to 12Mb connection... where does AT&T get the idea that anyone is going to pay these high rates for an obscenely slow connection?

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By legoman666 on 2/6/2008 8:04:53 AM , Rating: 2
people like me with 0 other choices.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By FITCamaro on 2/6/08, Rating: 0
RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RjBass on 2/5/2008 5:22:21 PM , Rating: 2 It's free and it's the next best thing to a static IP.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By PAPutzback on 2/6/2008 9:16:53 AM , Rating: 2 Almost every router I have seen can be configured to update this site with your IP. And you can create an easy to remember name instead of writing down your ip address and keeping it in your wallet.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/6/2008 10:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
No, it's definitely false advertising if they advertise something they are not putting due diligence into supporting rather than it being some special event to get it (ie - with a tailwind, locally cached, on same network segment, etc).

Recognize it for what it is, there has to be a real standard of compliance, otherwise they can just continue overpopulating areas until everyone has terrible service and only make an excuse like "oh, but if the people using it most didn't, there'd be more bandwidth left", which really means nothing because even if those largest consumers were gone, they'd just have all the more opportunity to continue overpopulating and claiming someone else is to blame.

Even if a speed isn't guaranteed, they are in fact advertising it as the primary quantity, as a term of service. If the average that can be sent is 3Mbps rather than 5Mbps, and they don't want to be deceitful, they only need advertise 3Mbps instead. They CHOOSE to do what they are doing, so if they can't meet their claims it's time to stop making them.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By Screwballl on 2/5/2008 4:50:54 PM , Rating: 3
Remember, the advertised speeds are MegaBITs, not megaBYTES...

My setup through Cox cable:
Download Speed: 15885 kbps (1985.6 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 521 kbps (65.1 KB/sec transfer rate)

So 10 megabits equals 1.25 megabytes.... but the whole legal language where they get you is the phrase "UP TO"... you can sign up for 20Megabit service and only get 1Megabit speeds and they can legally do this and allow this...

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By AlphaVirus on 2/5/2008 8:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think what the OP was trying to say is that there should be some sort of regulation. All these companies just go around overpromising and underperforming which is bs.

They can say all they want and deliver whatever they 'feel' like delivering and the average person will not care because they will not notice.
They said the average person buys the 1.5MB/s plan. That is more than enough to browse the net, and if they are actually gettin 750mb/s they will not even notice because that is still enough to browse the net.

We have to blame both the ISP and consumers. ISP for cheating the people and not wanting to spend the money to update their junk. The consumers for not informing each other and standing up.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By Alexstarfire on 2/5/2008 11:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
And that's the real problem. I mean, anyone who knows anything about internet connections knows that it'd be nearly impossible to get your rated speed ALL the time. There are just too many factors that come in to play. While you can't get your rated speed 100% of the time it's a big problem if you never get your rated speed. I don't have that problem, but I'm sure some people do. They need restrictions on what they can say in advertising and be held to it. I mean, as you said, they can advertise as up to 5Mbit but never really give it to you and get away with it. Granted, the customer would likely be pissed and leave, but that isn't the point. I say you have to be able to get your rated speed at least 90% of the time. Say "up to" shouldn't be allowed, or it should at least include "within 1Mb of rated speed."

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By MrPickins on 2/5/2008 11:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
I've had ATT DSL since it was SBC, and I have gotten my full rated speed 99% of that time. NOw, servers may not send the data that fas, but speed tests show I'm getting full bandwidth.

As for the rate hike, it's BS and may cause me to switch.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/6/2008 9:46:29 AM , Rating: 2
I agree 100%. As for a the broadband goes,... consider yourself lucky and blessed to have broadband at all. I have lived 1 mile away from "the end of their run" of broadband for 4 or 5 years now. The reps. have been telling me, "Good news sir! Its coming to you area in just a couple of months!!. "In fact we have technicians working on it right now" 4 years later and I'm still on AOL dialup (angry scream). To top this all off I have a PS3 and gaming computer. Also I'm a Networking student in college!!! I guess you can imagine the horror. The government is not helping with any of these "Monopoly" services. It basically comes down to "If you don't want our t.v. or internet service, then you will be screwed and go without". There is no other provider in our area. Everyone here knows what happens when a company has no competition, so I don't need to elaborate

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/6/2008 10:32:49 AM , Rating: 1
So there's no place inside your (cave?) to mount a satellite dish?

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/6/2008 11:31:05 AM , Rating: 2
There is... but I'm not willing to pay 600$ for it to be setup with another $80 monthly bill. You obviously don't know too much about satellite internet. They have Fair Access Policies (all of them) with huge latency and slow speeds. All that for 1Mb service for $80 a month?? No way. I'll just suffer with dialup instead of throwing my money away.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/7/2008 3:13:02 AM , Rating: 2
... and yet, you choose where to live, whose problem is it really? Lots of us choose a home location based on "utilities". Either move, or quit whining about it, there are in fact virtues in living away from others, either accept it, or don't and move.

I am sure you are not compelled to have roots there. If you must, the $600 seems high, but it's a tradeoff you have to make, similar to what we all make when choosing where to live.

IF you decide it's not worth the cost, I can respect that, nobody should ever tell you what you "should" do, but by the same token, you can't simultaneously omit the benefits of living outside the bounds of typical controls and not recognize you too had benefit. For example, I had to pay a yearly fee to populate a flower arrangement in our subdivision. Did you? If not, might that money, and further freedoms, be worth the cost IF you valued broadband service as much as your other freedoms?

I'm not trying to tell you what to spend money on, but rather that everything in life is about tradeoffs.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/7/2008 10:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
Hard to choose where I live at the moment. College is VERY expensive, and its not easy to do anything when you can barely afford to go to school. We must not be as fortunate as you to have that kind of money to move wherever we want to. I agree, most things are a trade off. But what Im talking about is just plain laziness on the telcom end of the deal.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/8/2008 3:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
I find it hard to believe you are near a college and yet no affordable broadband internet access. Have you tried getting a good high gain directional antenna and seeing what's *out there*?

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By RandallMoore on 2/8/2008 10:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
You can choose to believe me or not, but i live out in the country in NC. Im not living in a city. DSL is available 1 mile up the road. We are past the end of the line.

RE: Channel Specific Usage.
By mindless1 on 2/8/2008 8:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
So you haven't tried a good high gain antenna?

Don't know what to say, you choose what you pay for. If you're really that poor you should qualify for financial aid. Are you spending a lot of time online instead of working like many students do? In the end if you wanted it bad enough you'd find a way, so I guess you don't.

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