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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: 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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