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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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A few corections.
By masher2 (blog) on 2/5/2008 3:54:14 PM , Rating: 2
> "AT&T has been having a tough time financially"

AT&T's stock price has nearly doubled in the past few years, rising from $20/share to $37. Revenues are way up, and the company is experiencing rapid growth in nearly every sector in which it's involved.

I'm sure most companies would love a "tough time" like that.

> "notorious for at one time suspending user's right to free speech"

Of course, the AT&T policy to which you refer was in no way a suspension of the "right to free speech", even assuming it referred to speech in the first place (which it did not).




RE: A few corections.
By Murst on 2/5/2008 3:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
AT&T's stock price has nearly doubled in the past few years, rising from $20/share to $37. Revenues are way up, and the company is experiencing rapid growth in nearly every sector in which it's involved.


I'm sorry, but did you just compare AT&T to Cingular after they bought AT&T? How exactly do you justify that comparison?


RE: A few corections.
By masher2 (blog) on 2/5/2008 4:12:08 PM , Rating: 3
Cingular didn't buy AT&T; SBC did. Cingular was 50% owned by AT&T and Bellsouth; now wholly owned by the merged entity.

As for "justifying" the stock price pre and post merger; it's been adjusted by GAAP, the same as in any comparable situation.


RE: A few corections.
By Davelo on 2/5/2008 5:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
My Cingular bill says AT&T on it now.


RE: A few corections.
By masher2 (blog) on 2/5/2008 5:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
Right. As my first post said, Cingular is now wholly owned by AT&T. One of its parents (SBC) acquired AT&T, then changed its name to AT&T. The other parent (Bellsouth) was then acquired by AT&T.


RE: A few corections.
By Noobsa44 on 2/6/2008 12:35:59 AM , Rating: 4
I think this video explains AT&T's mergers best: http://youtube.com/watch?v=giglklwtgSs


RE: A few corections.
By Omega215D on 2/6/2008 2:08:21 AM , Rating: 4
Sounds like the future will be made up of Taco Bell ,at&t and 3 seashells


RE: A few corections.
By Murst on 2/5/2008 5:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
The point is that comparing AT&T prior to the Cingular merger is rather silly. The companies are nothing alike.

Also, Cingular was 50% owned by SCB & Bellsouth:
quote:
Formerly a joint venture between SBC Communications and BellSouth, Cingular Wireless soon acquired the old AT&T Wireless; SBC later acquired the original AT&T and rebranded as "the new AT&T". Cingular became wholly-owned by the new AT&T in December 2006 as a result of AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth.

I had to read ^that^ several times just to make sure, but I'm pretty sure AT&T never owned Cingular (although ATT-W owned C-W)


RE: A few corections.
By masher2 (blog) on 2/5/2008 5:43:36 PM , Rating: 3
> "I had to read ^that^ several times just to make sure, but I'm pretty sure AT&T never owned Cingular "

My original statement was correct. Prior to AT&T's purchase of Bellsouth, Cingular was jointly owned by AT&T and Bellsouth. I think you're getting confused over the name change; SBC, after it acquired AT&T, took the name in place of its own.

> "The point is that comparing AT&T prior to the Cingular merger is rather silly. The companies are nothing alike."

I'm not sure which specific entity you're referring to, but my original statement that AT&T has been doing outstandingly well financially is correct. The revenues of the combined company are substantially larger today than the total of the individual revenues of each of the individual companies combined .

After a merger, historical data on stock prices are backwards adjusted by standard accounting principles for this very reason-- so valid comparisons can be made, stock options transferred, capital gains calculated, etc.


RE: A few corections.
By Bremen7000 on 2/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: A few corections.
By imaheadcase on 2/5/2008 7:21:46 PM , Rating: 3
Free speech is not a law. I'm so sick and tired of people yapping about limiting free speech and how the world is going to end. yadda yadda yadda.

Companies can limit free speech all the want to, McDonalds can tell you not to say Whopper while you are at work there and fire you for doing so. Nothing says they can't.


RE: A few corections.
By Christopher1 on 2/6/2008 7:59:57 AM , Rating: 1
No, companies cannot tell you to not mention that at work. Many companies have tried doing that and have lost multi-million dollar lawsuits based on the free speech laws.

It's like one person said: Even if you work for McDonald's, you can still say that Burger King's burgers are better than McDonald's even if you are on the clock based on your right to free speech. If the company then tries to limit your free speech, they can and HAVE been sued in the past.

There is a little thing called the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES that says that companies cannot do what you are basically giving them carte blanche to do.


RE: A few corections.
By BMFPitt on 2/6/2008 8:57:23 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Even if you work for McDonald's, you can still say that Burger King's burgers are better than McDonald's even if you are on the clock based on your right to free speech.
Yes, you certainly can. And they have every right to fire you for it. If you doubt me, go tell your boss he's an asshole and see how your theory works out.
quote:
If the company then tries to limit your free speech, they can and HAVE been sued in the past.
They have. And nobody has ever won a lawsuit under the circumstances you described.
quote:
There is a little thing called the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES that says that companies cannot do what you are basically giving them carte blanche to do.
Actually, it says the government cannot do things like that. There are things companies can't do either, but firing their employees for badmouthing their products to customers is not one of those things.


RE: A few corections.
By tmouse on 2/6/2008 9:37:36 AM , Rating: 2
As someone else pointed out the US Constitution (remember states also have constitutions) ONLY limits what the GOVENRMENT can do/not do to the individual. Individual to individual problems are covered under other civil codes (many people seem to miss that point). Many times when people hear of cases that seem to be based on the US Constitution they are really civil or state constitution cases. These codes are supposed to maintain the spirit of the laws governing the relationship of the people to the government to the rights of one citizen to another. Generally they do; although some times things go a little wonky, and then there are the State’s rights vs Federal rights issues, but that another story....


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