A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

AT&T Watchdog - the latest





There are two main pieces I wrote and continue to update on ATT.  This is the second ongoing piece.

You can read the original companion piece  (which is updated often as is this piece) at
http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

The original piece at the above link are some of my own ATT issues which started in November of 2010.

The focus of the piece is multi-faceted and includes my own service problems on a variety of problems, customer service ineffectiveness, policy changes by ATT which announce limited service at increased costs, Uverse changes, DSL policy changes, service interruptions and more.

This piece takes more of a focus on ATT buying up the competition and reducing service, raising prices and changing contracts.

I am surprised that any corporation such as Netflix, Hulu, Skype, World of Warcraft or any folks whose business is any sort of online gaming, video streaming, music streaming or our government would allow ATT to change their original agreement for unlimited data for what is in essence, the world. 

As our economy is trying to climb out of the abyss I cannot believe that our government is allowing ATT to buy up competition to raise prices and reduce services.  It is the job of ATT to grow their network, not to take away service, raise prices and eliminate competitors buy buying them.

Shame on ATT.  Shame on our Government for allowing one of the few places business is growing in this economy (Internet based businesses) to be smacked down by ATT with their newly implemented data caps.  These caps impact their DSL services, Uverse services and cell based services. 

ATT - some news on Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas.   ATT is the second largest contributor to Govenor Sam Brownback's campaign.  ATT is also moving to Kansas.  Makes you think?  Our government is watching out for us?  Yeah, right.

Some folks might ask me; if the service is so bad why not switch?  Well, as the old phrase goes, evil can only take hold when good men do nothing.  In reality, I can only be a direct observer if I continue to be a customer.  I have met a few good people at ATT over the course of my ongoing journey and hope that they can influence the direction of a company which was once a company in America where our country had pride.  Unfortunately this is not the case today.  Survey after survey rank ATT customer service as the worst in any industry.  At the height of the BP oil disaster the perceived service view of many might have been that BP retained a better customer service image than ATT.

Click on "read more" for the entire ongoing story.

Today the news reports items such as ATT purchasing T-Mobile.  I suppose if you have a customer base who are very unhappy and go elsewhere if you have the money you can just purchase the "elsewhere" your customers migrated to after they left you.  Bell Telephone was broken up years ago.  Seems as if they are putting the pieces back together using various methods including the purchase of their competition.



Other news stories point out where ATT

DSL customers are being migrated to the higher cost Uverse service whether they wish to migrate or not. 

Their charges will increase.  On top of increased charges and the activity needed to schedule an appointment for the install of home premise equipment they will now be part of the Uverse customer base.  The Uverse Internet customers are going have what had always been unlimited home Internet access limited in the future.  There will be additional charges for going over a monthly allotted usage.  The charts and guidelines are in my original blog near the bottom of the piece at
http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

In November of 2010 my ATT Uverse went down.  Over the course of the next week I documented the issues as I tried to get the problem resolved.

Over the following months I had other problems in many areas such as billing, account ownership and technical issues.

My issues were documented in a blog entry.  I continued to add events to the blog over time.  The blog kept growing in length. 

As of today, 4/2/11, 78,461 people have read the blog.  Since the original blog, last updated 4/1/11 was getting so large as there is so much ongoing material, I felt than I would add new information to new blog entries.  And, new information is rarely a problem.

The last entries at the bottom of the original blog post are not my technical problems.  They are issues of ATT and the purchase of T-Mobile and the issue ATT moving forward with their converting their current DSL customers to Uverse whether they wish to convert or not.  Part of the conversion dynamic is bandwidth limitation for all Internet usage for all of their customers.

Prior problems of mine, past T-Mobile information and past Internet policy changes can be seen on by blog at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

Moving along to today....

These are my broadband errors so far this month.  I think that it borders on criminal that ATT feels they can charge more when they provide service such as this.  If the Public Utilities Commission and our government allows ATT to change their Internet policy (bait and switch?) of their current customer base OR allow the T-Mobile purchase to move ahead it will be one more reason many have lost faith in our government.  If a company has enough money it seems as if they can do anything.

I realize I am on an old copper infrastructure and I would expect errors and drops of service.  What I would not expect is that ATT intends to raise my rates and eliminate what they sold to me; unlimited home internet usage.

INF 2011-04-01T02:00:26-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-01T02:01:12-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-01T18:08:21-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-01T18:09:05-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-01T18:57:50-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-01T18:58:35-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-02T14:21:35-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-02T14:22:20-07:00 sys
INF 2011-04-05T15:17:50-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-09T00:55:32-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-09T00:56:18-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-10T03:01:58-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-10T03:02:43-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-12T11:32:57-07:00 sys dsl0: connection lost, reconnecting...
INF 2011-04-12T11:33:43-07:00 sys dnstest0: connection lost, reconnecting...

As a side note, the tools I use to monitor ATT network performance are the same tools as they use.  ATT NCC (network control center) and NOC (network operations center) have access to this same information.  ATT and myself can indeed compare apples to apples.
 
Until ATT updates most of it's old infrastructure there is no justification in my mind where they can charge people MORE money.  
 
The area where I live is serviced by an old copper infrastructure which is very old.  This is not fiber.  Electricity travels through a piece of wire.  Data (digital information) travels on the surface of a piece of wire.  The surface of this old copper has corrosion, nicks and imperfections that become more intrusive as the years pass.  The reliability declines over time.  My profile has already been changed to increase the decline in reliability although performance also needed to be reduced.
 
Some of my network chops came from a decade at Infonet where I was head of tech support, head of product development and in my last four years of ten years VP of Operations and Engineering.  I was directly responsible to design, maintain and deploy global networks using IP, X.25, Frame Relay and ATM technology.  One of Infonet's owners was BT who is now the parent company today.  More on BT if you wish to learn more at http://www.globalservices.bt.com/HomeAction.do 
 
Bottom line here; I have a bit of network and communications knowledge.
 
So, here are a few ATT recent news items for this blog entry....
 
ATT's $140 Million Among Top U.S. Payments for Early Retiree Health Costs
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-31/at-t-and-verizon-received-retiree-health-subsidies-u-s-says.html  Yes, they even cost folks who are not ATT customers money.  Makes one wonder about our government as well?  Eight U.S. companies that earned more than $10 billion last year, led by ATT Inc. (T), were among recipients of a government program that paid $1.8 billion toward elderly retirees’ health-care costs, a report shows.

CenturyLink CEO: Still Analyzing Impact Of ATT, T-Mobile Deal - http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110401-711946.html

In America, if one puts something in writing, one can do whatever they wish.  Our legal system does not understand the difference between the spirit of the law and the letter of the law.  Look at item number 1 in the ATT contract and terms of service at
http://www.att.net/csbellsouth/s/s.dll?spage=cg/legal/att.htm&leg=tos 
 
Just in case ATT changes their policy again in the future I will copy and paste the first two points in their current policy.
 
1. Changes to the Service This Agreement
 
From time to time, we may change this Agreement, the Site, or Service, including the rates and charges. We will provide you with thirty (30) days notice of material changes via either your Member Account e-mail address or U.S. mail. It is your responsibility to check your e-mail address for any such notices. Your continued subscription to the Service after receipt of such notice constitutes your acceptance of such changes.
 
We may also, from time to time, make temporary changes to your Service. If a temporary change is made that would have a material impact on your Service, ATT will give you at least thirty (30) days notice. The terms and conditions for such changes will be included in the notice and incorporated by reference into this Agreement at: www.att.com/temporaryterms. Your continued subscription to the Service after receipt of the notice constitutes your acceptance of the changes and the associated terms and conditions. In lieu of notice and website posting, ATT may instead, at its sole discretion, require customers to enter into an agreement with ATT regarding temporary material changes.
 
2. ATT High Speed Internet Service Description
 
The Service is composed of narrowband or broadband access to the Internet. The Site is composed of a broad selection of on-line resources including email, communication tools, forums, shopping services, search services and personalized content and branded programming. Broadband access is provided in speed tiers of: (1) 200 Kbps to 768 Kbps downstream (not available for ATT U-verse High Speed Internet service), (2) 769 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps downstream; (3) 1.56 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps downstream; (4) 3.1 Mbps to 6.0 Mbps downstream; (5) 6.1 Mbps to 10.0 Mbps (available only with ATT U-verse High Speed Internet service); and (6) 10.1 Mbps to 18 Mbps downstream (available only with ATT U-verse High Speed Internet service) (collectively “Service Capability Speeds”). ATT may periodically introduce additional speed tiers. Because these speed tiers may become available before this Agreement is updated, you should check www.att.com for the most current product information. For purposes of clarity, this Agreement applies to all speed tiers offered by ATT, even those which are not specifically identified above.
 
The speeds identified above are Service Capability Speeds, which are the downstream rates at which your line transfers Internet access data between the network interface device at your home, office or apartment building to the first piece of routing equipment in ATT’s network. Service Capability Speeds should not be confused with Throughput Speed, which is the speed at which your modem receives and sends Internet access data (“Throughput Speed.”). These speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Throughput speed depends upon many factors including customer location, destination and traffic on the Internet, interference with high frequency spectrum on your telephone line, wiring inside your home, office or apartment, the capacity or performance of your computer or modem, the server with which you are communicating, internal network factors, and the networks you and others are using when communicating. In order to provide a consistently high-quality video service, ATT Uverse High Speed Internet throughput speeds may be temporarily reduced when a customer is using other U-verse services in a manner that requires high bandwidth. This could occur more often with higher speed Internet access products. In order to enhance reliability and consistency of performance, some broadband access lines may be provisioned at less than the maximum speed capability but within the range of speed purchased.
 
Feel free to send this blog entry and past blog entries on this subject to others.  Ask them to forward this to others.  Send to the news media and to your government representatives.  Perhaps we can work together to put some aspects of this country back on track and request that our elected officials keep a close watch on companies lile ATT.

4/4/11 - Lawmaker has concerns over mobile megamerger

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/01/us-tmobile-att-walden-idUSTRE7305EJ20110401

The entire story can be read via the link above.  A bit of the lead in:  (Reuters) - A U.S. lawmaker with oversight of technology expressed concern that ATT Inc's plans to take over T-Mobile USA would stifle innovation in the wireless market.

Representative Greg Walden, chairman of the House subcommittee on communications and technology, said he did not want to see a merger diminish the vibrant and competitive nature of wireless.

ATT's $39 billion bid to buy Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile USA would concentrate 80 percent of U.S. wireless contract customers in just two companies -- ATT/T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

ATT, currently the No. 2 U.S. mobile carrier behind Verizon, has said the merger will spur innovation and economic growth by improving quality and expanding wireless service to 95 percent of Americans.

But Walden expressed concern about eliminating a national carrier.

4/11/11 There have been many news stories since my last post.  Here are a few today:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/copps-too-many-disturbing-ramifications-in-at-t-s-merger-with-t-mobile-20110411
Copps: Too Many 'Disturbing' Ramifications in ATT's Merger With T-Mobile Companies haven't shown public benefits in wireless deal, FCC panelist says.

ATT, T-Mobile Merger Gets Senate Hearing - http://www.intomobile.com/2011/04/11/may-11-day-tmobile-and-att-have-face-senate-judiciary-antitrust-subcommittee/

May 11: The day T-Mobile and ATT have to face the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee

How ATT’s Acquisition of T-Mobile Will Affect their 4G Networks
http://www.goingwimax.com/how-atts-acquisition-of-t-mobile-will-affect-their-4g-networks-12850/

4/12/11 - A few stories today ...

My hat is off to the FCC. Kudos! Thankfully somebody is doing something about this. For the moment the FCC is on my good guys list :) ...

ATT’s Purchase of T-Mobile Questioned on Prices by FCC Official - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-12/at-t-s-t-mobile-usa-takeover-questioned-by-fcc-official-over-price-impact.html

ATT, T-Mobile Deal Faces Pushback -- InformationWeek - http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/3G/229401444

4/13/11

Looks like ATT is already putting their stamp on T-Mobile. Many of us saw this coming as soon as ATT broke news of their T-Mobile buy, their Uverse price increase, their revoking of unlimited Internet for home use as well as with their cell service etc.

T-Mobile's 4G unlimited plan slows data after user exceeds 2GB threshold
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/04/t-mobiles-7999-unlimited-4g-data-plan-slows-down-web-data-speeds-after-2gb.html

4/14/11

Kan. gov. to sign bill loosening rules for ATT - The bill makes it easier for ATT to avoid a state cap on rates for stand-alone, local landline service that still apply in many of the areas it serves
.
Shame on you Gov. Brownback. ATT moving facilities to Kansas? I suppose if we dig deeper there are possible tax breaks for ATT as well? - http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9MJ2U303.htm

4/15/11

Sprint’s Hesse Says ATT’s Purchase Poses Threat to Industry.  Chief Executive Officer Dan Hesse said ATT Inc.’s acquisition of T-Mobile USA poses a “serious threat” to industry innovation.

My take on this?  ATT does not want features or innovation.  All ATT wants is to totally control all aspects of the communications industry.  The already blanket cell service, TV (Uverse) and Internet (Uverse) and are expanding as they raise prices and reduce services and features.


Seems as if I am receiving a lot of traffic on this post from some folks that are monitoring things.  I am not all that surprised.  This site seems to be one of those sites that businesses use to track who is looking at what.



When I followed the link on my own traffic reports I was taken to the below page:


Seems as if more folks are looking at this ongoing post all the time.

4/16/11

ATT transition leaves some without service - ATT notified an undisclosed number of South Dakotans late this week that the company will not be able to serve them well after all when it takes on former Alltel customers starting April 20.

Customers in remote areas who had relied on roaming off of Verizon towers will no longer be able to do so because of incompatible technology and will have limited service.

Darrell Sullivan of Hill City had received his new ATT cell phone and was looking forward to switching to the new network. But he got a text message Thursday warning him his service "may change or be limited." Several calls to customer service later, Sullivan learned that he his new phone wouldn't work for him after all, at least not at his home.


One more story today

I have been watching Gov. Brownback.  His support of ATT smelled of payola.  Well, here is some of the latest: 

Capitol Watch: Special interest groups enjoy a special week


There’s probably a good reason Gov. Sam Brownback made a show out of signing a bill removing the last rate cap from ATT’s residential and small business landline phone service in Kansas.

Kansans, however, must hope there weren’t 88,120 reasons. As the GOP governor’s second-largest contributor, that’s the number of dollars the phone company reported donating to his campaign.

Kansas already has high residential phone rates. Taking the cap away is expected to increase them.

Brownback says it opens the state for innovation and investment.

He rather disingenuously noted that the move comes with no cost to taxpayers, which is true unless they have, say, a phone.

Also interesting in this debate was the jargon-ish phrase POTS that was tossed about in the legislative discussion.

This decision was all about POTS, which stands for “plain old telephone service.”

Posted on Fri, Apr. 15, 2011 10:15 PM by The Kansas City Star
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/04/15/2803253/the-stars-editorial-capitol-watch.html

Gov. Sam Brownback - search the fellow on twitter and he is behind all sorts of nasty things.  Here is one more:  NH arts funding would be lost in House budget: Sam Brownback's call to eliminate the state arts commission as a ... http://bit.ly/dXAWhj

4/18/11 -

The FCC and DOJ may launch coordinated antitrust review in ATT/T-Mobile deal
http://topnews.net.nz/content/213924-fcc-and-doj-may-launch-coordinated-antitrust-review-attt-mobile-deal

Like I said, ATT is trying to quietly buy up everything - But, the Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Justice are not the only hurdles that the proposed ATT/T-Mobile deal will need to clear. The US Congress will also examine the deal.

It was on March 20, when the second-largest carrier ATT tabled an offer to purchase Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA Inc., which is the fourth-largest network provider in the country.

ATT had already purchased Alltel (information earlier in this blog post).

Sprint gears up for fight with ATT




ATT Follows Its Customers Overseas
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/technology/18att.html
Almost three decades after its breakup, ATT, the former U.S. telephone monopoly, appears poised to reassemble its influence in the American wireless market — and perhaps extend it overseas.

If its $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA is approved by regulators, ATT will once again be the largest wireless company in the United States.

... full story at the link above



Earnings Preview: ATT to report 1Q earnings in wake of losing iPhone exclusivity



ATT craps on T-Mobile, self, in FCC filing


Like the kid who beat you up at the bus stop because he felt bad about being obese, ATT is a bully because it hates itself. At least that’s how the mobile giant appears in its enormous and unintentionally hilarious FCC filing, its first attempt at trying to convince regulators that acquiring T-Mobile will “promote, not diminish” competition among mobile carriers.

As first reported by Ars Technica, here are a few examples of how ATT describes itself in an attempt to make it appear like the underdog who’s just trying to make it in the big ol’ mobile world:

•“ATT’s network-capacity challenges, however, are not just ‘looming’ a few years down the road—they are here today, the product of ATT’s mobile broadband leadership and its need to support multiple generations of services.”

•“In many markets where T-Mobile USA has spectrum, ATT’s capacity constraints also prevent it from dedicating enough spectrum to launch LTE, deploy it optimally, or meet expected demand.”

•“From a consumer’s perspective, the capacity constraints confronting these companies, if unaddressed, would translate into more dropped and blocked calls, slower speeds, and access to fewer and less advanced applications.”

And their friend T-Mobile? Sure it is better off?

•“T-Mobile is not an important factor in ATT’s competitive decision-making.”

•“As a standalone company, however, T-Mobile USA would continue to face substantial commercial and spectrum-related challenges. It confronts increased competition from industry mavericks such as MetroPCS, Leap, and others; its percentage of US subscribers has been falling for nearly two years; and it has no clear path to LTE.”

•“T-Mobile USA, in contrast to others, does not have a differentiated network position. T-Mobile USA has admitted that it suffered from its late transition to a 3G network, and unlike Sprint, which first promoted a 4G network, T-Mobile USA’s HSPA+ launch appears to have been lost among other carriers’ 4G messaging.”

•“ATT does not believe that T-Mobile USA has a particularly compelling portfolio of smartphone offerings as compared to ATT, Verizon, and Sprint.”  (Like I have said in the past - ATT is buying the customer base and later on the prices will rise as services and features decline)

•“To the extent that T-Mobile USA’s prices are lower than those received by ATT and Verizon Wireless for otherwise comparable subscribers, T-Mobile USA’s lower prices have not stimulated growth in its share of retail subscribers. This indicates that other aspects of T-Mobile USA’s service are in some way lacking.”

Ouch. Maybe $39 billion will smooth over things between the two of them.

4/22/11

ATT admits it can’t handle the iPhone -

ATT/T-Mobile deal offers risk, reward for Obama - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/53580.html

ATT Files T-Mobile Merger Documentation with the FCC
http://techland.time.com/2011/04/22/att-files-t-mobile-merger-documentation-with-the-fcc/

4/25/11

ATT Files Statement with FCC, to Chagrin of Sprint, RCA
http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/ATandT-Files-Statement-with-FCC-to-Chagrin-of-Sprint-RCA-610323/

Gov. Sam Brownback - I am not trying to open a debate on abortion.  I am only trying to show people that the Govenor of Kansas is a man of smoke and mirrors. 
http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/sam-brownback-promotes-lie-about-abortion-funding/
 
4/28/11 -

ATT-Mobile - Unless you have been living under a rock or in a cave, you’ve heard about the pending merger of ATT and T-Mobile. What will this mean for us, those who love ATT’s network and those who love T-Mobile’s price point? We aren’t sure but it certainly has a lot of us worried. Why? Competition.
More at http://the-gadgeteer.com/2011/04/28/att-mobile/

4/29/11 -

Opponents: kill ATT bid for T-Mobile, Qualcomm licenses at same time: http://bit.ly/l59aGB

ATT Mobility v. Concepcion: The Corporate Court Does it Again: http://huff.to/jLSePw

The latest below:

Without T-Mobile's spectrum, ATT says its customers will experience more dropped calls and slower data connections, but ATT already has more spectrum than any other carrier. How much is enough? Read this blog post by Marguerite Reardon on Signal Strength.

Is ATT a wireless spectrum hog? - http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20058494-266.html


5/2/11
This was reported to be coming.  Here it is:
ATT To Begin Broadband Caps ATT estimates that only about 2 percent of their high-speed Internet customers will be affected, with the average customer ringing in at about 18 GB per month in use. The company says the caps will only affect about 2 percent of their DSL customers, ...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/02/att-broadband-internet-caps_n_856201.html

As a side note, the data usage reporting application link which ATT supplies (this can be found with additional details on my blog post at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html ) still does not work as of today.  The screen snapshot I have posted in the past is the same one you will see today.

ATT recently found themselves on the receiving end of some "4G" angst when customers realized that two of the smartphones the carrier proclaims are "4G" weren't able to upload at anywhere near 4G speeds. While ATT wasn't clear when asked why, ... ATT Fixing Atrix, Inspire Upstream Issues '4G' Phones Didn't Even Have 3G Connectivity - http://www.broadbandreports.com/shownews/ATT-Fixing-Atrix-Inspire-Upstream-Issues-114010

5/3/11


ATT this week began capping its Internet delivery service for broadband and DSL customers. The move comes 11 months after it placed similar caps on its mobile customers.

U-Verse -- ATT's high-speed broadband, television and telephone network -- now limits customers to 250 gigabytes of Internet usage each month. DSL users are capped at 150 GB. Customers who exceed the limits will have to pay $10 for each additional 50 GB.

ATT's Broadband Data Caps Start Today - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2384790,00.asp


ATT makes broadband data caps official - http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20058933-266.html


The Internet Costs More Today, Thanks to ATT -
http://techland.time.com/2011/05/02/the-internet-costs-more-today-thanks-to-att/

I copied some of my writing from another blog post of mine on ATT and incorporated it into this blog piece.  This may provide a bit of earlier information from a number of months ago.

ATT Internet customers, your service contract is changing

By David Lazarus March 29, 2011

All eyes might be on ATT's pending acquisition of T-Mobile, but ATT Internet customers shouldn't overlook some significant changes the company has just made to their service contract.

Perhaps the most noteworthy addition is a new provision that allows ATT to limit the online activities of heavy users. Customers who hog bandwidth by downloading high-definition movies or vast quantities of digital music slow the pipeline for everyone else, said ATT spokesman John Britton.

So now ATT says it will impose caps on data use or limit a customer's download speed — or even impose additional fees — if they're slurping too much online soup.

"People have a right to behave however they want online," Britton said. "But we have a right to manage the bandwidth so that everyone has a good experience. This is targeting the top 2% of people who use about 20% of the bandwidth."

As of May 2, ATT will crack down on any DSL user who exceeds 150 gigabytes per month, which is the rough equivalent of downloading 50 high-definition movies. Customers who receive the company's U-verse broadband service will have a cap of 250 gigabytes.

That may sound like plenty of bandwidth, but factor in digital music, pictures and other content, and some people may see their allotted usage go quickly.

Art Brodsky, a spokesman for the digital-rights group Public Knowledge, said the onus should be on network providers to provide enough bandwidth for customers, not on customers to accommodate the provider's shortcomings.

"Lopping off the top 2% of users seems like blunt-force trauma," he said.

ATT's growing clout has been closely scrutinized since the company announced last week that it would spend $39 billion to acquire T-Mobile and create the country's largest wireless service, with about 130 million customers.

At the same time, ATT is one of the biggest providers of broadband Net access. The company is duking it out with cable giant Comcast for first place among high-speed Internet service providers.

Comcast now heads the pack with nearly 17 million subscribers, according to Leichtman Research Group. But ATT is a close second with 16.3 million Net customers (twice as many as rival Verizon).

Comcast already has similar network-management rules in place. Representatives of Verizon and Time Warner Cable said that although they're closely following what ATT and Comcast are doing, they have no such limitations planned — at least for the moment.

Meanwhile, ATT's contract changes include a few other eye-opening provisions.

The company has inserted language allowing it to unilaterally upgrade a DSL user's service to U-verse.

On the one hand, this is cool because U-verse is faster and more versatile than DSL.

On the other, ATT says U-verse would come with "applicable rates, terms and conditions, which may differ from your previous DSL service rates, terms and conditions."

In other words, ATT might charge you more for a level of service you never wanted or asked for.

Britton said he couldn't imagine the company actually doing this to customers, but he acknowledged that this is what the new contract says.

One other provision of note: ATT's contract now stipulates that the company can cancel your service "if you engage in conduct that is threatening, abusive or harassing" to the company's workers, or for "frequent use of profane or vulgar language" when dealing with service reps.

ATT won't charge early termination fees to anyone it decides to cut off. I don't want to put ideas into anyone's head, but if you're cheesed about usage caps, higher fees or a forced march to U-verse, some strategic cussing might come in handy.

Just saying.

David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5. Send your tips or feedback to david.lazarus@latimes.com.

3/31/11 - The new Internet policy from ATT.  Like I said, they sell you one thing and then change the game.  Bait and switch in classic form.  If our government and the PUC allows this nonsense it will be nothing short of criminal. 

Feel free to copy and paste this section or share this link with everybody you know including the PUC.  These folks have gone too far.

ATT U-verse SM Support

The below was copied directly from an email I received today from ATT

Broadband Usage FAQs

Are there any usage limits for my broadband service?
Yes. As of May 2, 2011, ATT's residential DSL High Speed Internet plans will have a usage allowance of 150 Gigabytes ("GB") per month, and its residential U-verse High Speed Internet plans will have a usage allowance of 250 Gigabytes ("GB") per month. The usage allowance is the amount of data you can send and receive each month.

Why is ATT implementing a usage allowance?
ATT has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2% of customers use about 20% of the total capacity on our network. A single high traffic user can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers' access to and use of the network.

What is a gigabyte?
A gigabyte is a unit of measurement of the amount of data that is transmitted over the Internet. Approximately 50,000 single-page e-mails (without attachments), for example, equate to about 1 GB. It is important to remember that a GB represents the amount of data sent over the network, and not the amount of time spent using the Internet.

How much is 150 GB?
150 GB is far more data than most customers ever use in a month. Our average DSL customer uses only about 18 GB per month. In fact, less than 2% of DSL users utilize more than 150 GB per month. We estimate that 98% of our customers will not be affected by this change because the monthly usage allowance includes so much bandwidth.  (side note from me - what about professionals who do a lot of photography work or folks that play online games?  I would think that 2% would be a HUGE number of individual users.  I also suspect their statistics as they continually lie to their customer base.  There are a lot of folks I know that watch streaming TV and the chart below will indicated how this would impact those people)

How much do I get with 150 or 250 GB?
You can do a lot with 150 or 250 GB. Here is an example.

Will spending a lot of time on the Internet cause me to exceed my monthly usage allowance?
Time alone is not the determining factor; it is the activity that matters. You could spend several hours reading e-mails, for example, and use less than 1 GB of data. You could spend 30 minutes downloading a movie, on the other hand, and use 2 GB of data. It is important to remember that it is what you are doing on the Internet, not how long you do it, that determines the amount of data that you use.

Can anyone other than someone in my immediate household affect my bandwidth usage?
If you have not secured your wireless gateway/router, someone nearby with a computer or Wi-Fi enabled device could access your home network and use your High Speed Internet Service, which could increase your monthly usage. ATT recommends that you secure your wireless router/gateway to prevent others from using your High Speed Internet Service. We suggest that you use common encryption protocols, such as Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) for security. Check www.att.com/esupport for support with ATT provided devices, or your manufacturer's support website for help with securing your wireless router/gateway.

What will happen if I exceed my monthly usage allowance?
You will receive a notice the first time your usage exceeds the applicable monthly allowance.

In the following months, we will send you additional notices each month when your usage exceeds 65%, 90% and 100% of your monthly usage allowance. If you exceed your monthly allowance a second time, ATT will send you a notice advising you that the next time you exceed your allowance - the third time - you will be billed $10 for each 50 GB of data over your allowance.

We will continue to send you courtesy notifications when your usage exceeds 65%, 90% and 100% of your monthly usage allowance to keep you informed about your usage patterns. All of these notices will remind you of what your monthly usage allowance is, provide you with information to help you understand broadband data usage, offer you tips on how to effectively control your usage to stay below your monthly allowance, and explain what your options are if you exceed your allowance in future billing periods. For example, you can modify your usage patterns to stay below your monthly usage allowance; continue your normal usage patterns and pay $10 for each additional 50 GB of data over your monthly allowance; or terminate your service, consistent with the terms of any special pricing offer that you previously accepted.

Importantly, if you do not receive a notice from ATT, it means that you have not exceeded your monthly usage allowance. In some cases, it may mean that we cannot measure your usage yet. Either way, you should not be concerned about your usage patterns for billing purposes.

Where will I receive notices about my broadband usage?
You will receive notices about your broadband usage at the primary e-mail address that you set up when you registered for Service. We will send a letter by U.S. mail if we cannot reach you by e-mail or do not have your e-mail address.

How will ATT help me to monitor my usage?
ATT will provide a website with two options to assist customers in managing their High Speed Internet usage.

First, ATT will provide a personal usage report at http://www.myusage.att.com/ where customers can view how much actual data they have used in a given month from the January 2011 bill cycle to the most recent billing cycle. To protect confidential customer information, this site is password-protected. The login process requires your Internet access login and password. The login is your ATT primary account email address (e.g., John_smith@att.net). The password is the same password used to access your att.net homepage and primary email account.

ATT initially will report usage data on a weekly basis. When a customer uses 70% of their monthly usage allowance, we will supplement their personal usage report on a daily basis. A customer's usage will be posted on the website within 1 - 4 days after it is collected.

Second, ATT will provide a website with examples of what kind of Internet activity can impact your actual usage. In addition, on the same site ATT will provide a usage calculator, which will enable customers to input data about how they typically use their Service and calculate an estimate of how much data they are likely to use in a given month. This website will be available in late April 2011.

I can't seem to access the usage tool. What should I do?

Many of our customers have access to this tool already. For those who don't today, until your usage is available for viewing on http://www.myusage.att.com/, you should not be concerned about your usage patterns for billing purposes. Once the tool is available, you will be notified if you exceed your allowance.


As a point of interest, the above is what happened today when I tried the tool.

These folks are nothing short of criminals and when you think that things cannot get worse they go and pull another stunt like this.

Side note - as of 5/3/11 the data usage tool link that ATT was to provide still does not work yet ATT has implemented their restrictive data plan.  There is no way for users to track their data or know what their usage has been.  I wonder how many lawsuits may be bred from bill disputes or unlawful business practices?
 

FCC Inundated by Comments on ATT, T-Mobile Merger - Comments about ATT's plan to acquire T-Mobile USA have flooded the FCC's electronic comment filing system.  More than 3,000 people have submitted comments on the massive merger since the agency set deadlines for its review of the deal last Thursday, according to a search of the FCC's electronic comment filing system. More at:

Please send the link for this blog page to others.  Ask them to send it along too.  We are making waves.  Since this blog was created and posted on April 2nd, as of 3:45pst today (5/3/11) 92,316 people have read this page.  In the last 24 hours since the data caps have been implemented the traffic on this page has increased.  There has been a 926% rise in traffic between May 2 and May 3.  The word is spreading.  Please help spread the page.  Copy and distribute this link.  I will keep updating the page:


Change between May 2 and May 3, 2011

The top 10 most read posts since the blog was created in December 2009. 
This post is in the #4 spot but it is moving up the list very quickly.

In The Mobile Music Landgrab, Radio Signs On With Verizon http://bit.ly/mgCRDo - won't work with ATT data cap plan.  One of the casualties.  Streaming video, youtube, music, movies, television, online gaming, online education video programs and countless other higher bandwidth application which are an everyday way of life will be curtailed by ATT.  As technology moved into the future ATT pulled technology advances back into the past.  They opted for higher profits in the short term rather than expanding their network with a small part of their profit.  Big business over people. 

SoundCloud Labs Showcases Experimental Music Apps: http://on.mash.to/lJD4tl - won't work with #ATT data cap plan.  One more casualty.

Future casualty of the new ATT data cap plan? Pandora adds 10,000 comedy clips to its archives - http://bit.ly/mFHFJ5

5/5/11
Sprint Takes Fight Against AT-T-Mobile Deal To States - International Business Times: http://bit.ly/iUbAIW

5/7/11
ATT Asked to Say How Prices Won't Rise After T-Mobile Deal: http://bit.ly/iL4Lmt

Sprints fierce fighter against the merger of ATT and T-Mobile The Washington Post: http://wapo.st/lxj7Rj 

Wireless CEOs go to Washington, D.C. http://cnet.co/jqYtqS

5/9/11

Week ahead: Lawmakers take first crack at ATT merger - The Hill's Hillicon Valley: http://bit.ly/lVQT5G

Critics call Kansas Gov. Brownback's agenda a 'power grab' - Politics Wires - MiamiHerald.com: http://bit.ly/iQ2FPY

5/10/11

ATT, Sprint to Trade Blows on Capitol Hill - Mobiledia: http://www.mobiledia.com/news/89747.html
One of my thoughts on this story came from the part - Randall Stephenson, ATT's chief executive, is likely say the $39 billion deal will help fulfill President Obama’s State of the Union promise to deliver high-speed wireless to most of America. 

My first thought was, what a load of crap, taking the words of the President out of context and spinning them to the advantage of ATT.  Then I came to my senses, that is what big business does.  Then I thought how some people feel our President is in the pocket of big business.  If our current administration lets this merger go forward, my feeling in regard to the current administration will continue to change.

The DOJ and ATT: Will Bad (Phone) Reception Lead to a Good (Merger) Reception? - http://on.wsj.com/lHL6zd - if you buy all the networks and companies (your competition) then I am sure your own coverage will expand. 

T-Mobile has seen better days. First, it looks as though T-Mobile will be acquired soon by ATT and to pour salt in their wounds apparently the subscriber results for Q1 2011 have been atrocious.

However, T-Mobile is still doing all it can to win back its customers by revamping its prepaid plans to allow for unlimited data, launching cutting edge handsets, and now allowing unlimited calling over wireless networks. http://bit.ly/mMCvYf

BBC News - T-Mobile apologise for overcharging customers: http://bbc.in/jRLgEL

Research Paper Provides Real Story Behind ATT/T-Mobile Merger http://bit.ly/ieXe0K

ATT T-Mobile Acquisition: 5 Questions Senators Should Ask - Big Government: http://bit.ly/lrs6OZ

ATT Deal For T-Mobile Gets Greater DOJ Scrutiny -- InformationWeek: http://bit.ly/lMRLgR


Microsoft-Skype Deal May Upset ATT, Verizon Relations.    http://bloom.bg/k9vFL3 
I don't think ATT has much to worry about.  ATT is buying up all networks, their DSL and Uverse services now have data caps which will make Skype unusable for many folks.  Then again, Bill Gates is a sharp man and perhaps he is considering building his own network and putting ATT out of business for good.  If he did that I would be a MicroSoft supporter for life.

5/12/11

Senators skeptical over ATT's 39B purchase of No. 4 carrier T-Mobile: http://nydn.us/jNkP4Q

BroadbandBreakfast.com: Senators Grill Mobile CEOs on ATT/T-Mobile Merger: http://bit.ly/jhoEHw

ATT President and CEO Randall Stephenson testifies http://yhoo.it/jUGSEh - does this man look trustworthy?

ATT,T-Mobile USA break-up is $6 billion: http://yhoo.it/jSnuB0 If one way does not work they will try another.

5/14/11

Why The ATT/T-Mobile Merger Should Not Come To Pass  http://bit.ly/kRij6c

5/15/11

The Associated Press: Customer satisfaction with ATT, T-Mobile drops: http://bit.ly/mIUiAl

5/18/11

Sprint Makes Big Jump in Customer Satisfaction:

Federal Communications Commission names senior counsel to oversee of ATT, T-Mobile review - http://wapo.st/kvsYev

5/19/11

The Growth Of Netflix Will Be Used To Throttle Your Internet Access: http://bit.ly/kqnEdl and and ATT has data caps in place to stop the growth of Netflix and any other Internet based service. ATT - slowing progress at higher cost.  Or ...  ATT - profit for a few over the economy for many.   So many new slogans for ATT come to mind.

5/20/11

Verizon: iPhone 5 Will Compete with ATT for Global Coverage - http://ti.me/kT9oRk - ....
Lest you think we're asking the moon for cheese, Verizon's had bumper voice and data coverage across the area for years, while—nothing against them otherwise—ATT offers neither....

The ATT / T-Mobile Senate Hearing Summary: http://bit.ly/iWWplp

USA Today opposes ATT, T-Mobile merger: An editorial in USA Today blasts the proposed ATT and T-Mobile merger as a step toward a duopoly in the wireless industry that would lead to poor customer service and higher prices.   “Allowing ATT to dominate the wireless market would be a step back to the future,” the editorial said.

iPhone customer sues ATT, claims data charges 'rigged' - ITworld: http://t.co/QpKvarX

Sprint Wants States to Review ATT and T-Mobile Deal: http://t.co/BBCXvD8

5/21/11 -

This was provided when data caps were inacted:  First, ATT will provide a personal usage report at http://www.myusage.att.com/ where customers can view how much actual data they have used in a given month from the January 2011 bill cycle to the most recent billing cycle. To protect confidential customer information, this site is password-protected. The login process requires your Internet access login and password. The login is your ATT primary account email address (e.g., John_smith@att.net). The password is the same password used to access your att.net homepage and primary email account.

As of today, 5/21/11, this application does not work.  It has never worked.

I have reported this to ATT Customer Service.

5/23/11

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