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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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RE: Where do I sign up?
By joemoedee on 2/5/2008 5:15:02 PM , Rating: 2
I ditched my 3Mbps dsl as it was down every 10 minutes, they came out to try to fix it at least a dozen times, finally I called them one day and told them to cancel, I'm gettin my 8Mbps Comcast connection back. Ever since, my internet has never gone down, of course I pay a bit more now, but reliability is worth it, IMO.

That all varies by your location, as I'm in the opposite boat.

Comcast Cable/Internet Service = Dropped their cablemodem service at my old house due to it losing connectivity every other day, with it ultimately being down the last 2 weeks I had them. I can't count how many hours I wasted with their techs on the phone and in person to fix the issue to no avail. In my new house I went with digital cable and Bellsouth DSL, and after about a dozen trips out here by them to correct the artificating/blocky digital cable, I finally dropped them for Dish Network. Dish has yet to fail me.

Bellsouth/ATT = Loss of DSL service once in 2.5 years, and that was due to Comcast cutting my DSL while burying my cable line. (Go figure, they STILL found a way to kill my internet connectivity)

I'd gladly pay a bit more for the service I've had thus far.

RE: Where do I sign up?
By 67STANG on 2/5/2008 7:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
I've got dish too, I don't believe in paying more for less in the TV department. Strange that your cable was unreliable though, typically it's DSL that's unreliable (usually due to distance issues).

But then again, i couldn't even get the speeds I wanted with DSL, besides that... I torrent like a mother and I don't want AT&T snooping.

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