Nice words from AT&T but...

I'm in Los Angeles County only 1/2 mile from the city/country line. AT&T doesn't offer DSL here - apparently they don't think there are enough customers to justify the cost of upgrading their network. Will AT&T be required to offer DSL here? It sounds like they will according to the terms of the AT&T purchase of Bell South. I think the Los Angeles market is "at least 80% upgraded for broadband" but will AT&T ever REALLY offer DSL here? I'm not holding my breath. Will there ever be any enforcement of these merger terms? Again, I'm not holding my breath.

I don't want to seem (or feel) ungrateful because half the secret of enjoying life is remembering to practice an "attitude of gratitude". I'm grateful that there is a WISP in the area who provides me with 256 kbps symmetrical service for "only" $99.99 per month.


Peter R. wrote:

     January 16, 2007

 AT&T to offer $20 'naked' DSL service


Cheaper high-speed Internet service is coming.

Within a few months, AT&T is expected to start charging $19.95 a month for "naked" DSL, meaning you don't have to buy any other AT&T service, including phone, to get that rate. It currently charges $45 for a stand-alone broadband subscription.

AT&T also is developing $10 DSL for new subscribers who also buy AT&T-branded phone service.

AT&T plans to offer both services for at least 30 months. The clock starts as soon as the media giant starts selling them in any of the 22 states where it is the incumbent local phone company, including California, Florida, Illinois and Texas.

Why so cheap? Three words: Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC, which has broad regulatory control over the U.S. telecommunications industry, recently approved AT&T's acquisition of BellSouth. To get needed votes from the FCC's two Democratic members, AT&T agreed, reluctantly, to offer these DSL bargains.

AT&T is required to roll out the $19.95 offer within one year and the $10 rate within six months. Gene Kimmelman, public policy director of Consumers Union, says he expects AT&T to move faster.

Under the terms of the FCC agreement, AT&T is required to offer naked DSL for $19.95 in markets that are at least 80 percent upgraded for broadband. That describes many of AT&T's biggest markets, says Kimmelman, who helped negotiate the settlement.

Under the deal, AT&T's cheap DSL products will clock in at 768 kilobits per second. While that's slower than the 1.5 megabits to 3 megabits popular with many U.S. consumers, "it's more than good enough" for Internet telephony, Kimmelman says.

As such, he thinks the twin offers could help spur sales of Internet telephony across the United States. "This opens the door for consumers" to pick other local and long-distance providers," Kimmelman says.

For years, Kimmelman notes, consumers had to pay double, essentially, if they wanted to buy a high-speed broadband connection from one carrier and phone service from another. He says that let phone companies such as AT&T push broadband sales while preserving their core phone business, which still accounts for the bulk of profit.

While AT&T, for example, charges $45 for naked DSL, it sells a bundle that includes phone and DSL for just $28 a month.

Cable TV companies do the same thing. If purchased separately, Time Warner charges $45 a month for its high-speed cable modem service and $49.95 for digital phone. A bundle of both - plus TV service - costs $99.

Comcast's service is among the priciest: It charges almost $58 a month for stand-alone broadband.

Kimmelman, for one, thinks AT&T's new DSL pricing will help "discipline" broadband pricing. Once AT&T's $19.95 rate for naked DSL is broadly available, other broadband providers, including cable, "will be hard-pressed to keep hiding behind a higher price."

Jack Unger ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) - President, Ask-Wi.Com, Inc.
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