AT&T To Stick Customers With Higher Broadband Prices
February 5, 2008 2:48 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
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"
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