Dump The Dinosaur

Three days without phone/DSL service for the third time this year has me wondering what our Corporate Overlords are smoking. When a repair technician did show up (after 5 pm, thank you very much, when I’m cooking dinner and running to the vet to pick up the dog) he told me he doesn’t even work in the residential service unit, but the residential crews are so backed up, the business teams are working 12 hours of overtime to help them catch up.

This, and the 15-20 minutes of time you have to wait on hold to request service in the first place makes me wonder why the hell AT&T hasn’t, you know, hired more people? I mean, it’s not like we don’t have 8.3% unemployment? Hello? Randall Stephenson may have screwed up on that T-Mobile deal but he still gets $22 million a year; surely he knows that in this day and age, cutting people off from their communication for three days inspires them to look for alternatives.

And then I saw this:

AT&T, which has a total workforce of 252,330 people, has been in negotiations for months with labor unions to cut costs in its landline business, which has declined rapidly in recent years.

Oh! Is feature, not bug. I guess land lines are a communications dinosaur and they’d just as soon we all dumped ours. Sucky service and lame excuses are the m.o. they use to shove customers out the door. In short: AT&T doesn’t want your landline business. They want your cell business.

Okay, AT&T, I got the memo. Readers, please let me know in comments how y’all handle your communications. I only have AT&T so I can get DSL with another (local) company anyway, whom I love. Mr. Beale is still convinced with need a landline phone number, though the only people who call it are his mother and Rachel From Cardholder Services offering me some kind of credit card scam. Rachel calls me a lot and I’d be thrilled to be rid of her, while my mother in law can call our cell phones. We do use the phone line for things like alarm monitoring and on-demand movies, but surely you can get some kind of basic phone service that covers those uses, right?

And what about high-speed cable internet? Anyone use that? Hate Comcast? Love it? Let me know.


Filed under corporations, telecom

19 responses to “Dump The Dinosaur

  1. kosh III

    Comcast? Dreadful. Most of the time I can’t use On Demand unless I unplug the box, wait a few minutes then plug it back in. Then it MIGHT work or I might have to sit on hold for a long time wading thru automated menus before I get someone who will probably tell me to unplug the box and if that doesn’t work, call back.
    Competition would be nice but I guess they pay big “campaign contributions” to get a monopoly in my neighborhood.

  2. I used to work for Verizon wireline–they have been moving as much of their money and effort as possible to wireless and cable (FIOS) since before I left there in 2006.

    They and AT&T are both teh SUCK.

    Since the FCC seems to be their lapdog, of late, I don’t look for any favorable rulings any time soon. OTOH, what they did in the 20’s under anti-trust laws could happen again. The patterns of customer abuse, union busting and other chicanery could, eventually, lead to a change.

    I’m brushing up on Morse Code.

  3. we ditched our landline some time ago. the only people who called it were my mother and folks wanting to sell me stuff. not real live folks, mind, but recordings or robocallers that would hang up if they didn’t have a live person available when i answered. we used to have comcast cable, but never again. mother has some kind of satellite service provided in her senior apartment, and it loses channels every time a drop of rain falls. i don’t need that kind of frustration. i’ve not looked into services like netflix and mubi, but when we run out of dvds i will check into what’s available.

  4. SB, I am grateful that my daughter pays our land line phone service, local calls only, and pays our Comcast bill for net/TV service. My son and I qualify for Safelink Wireless and Assurance wireless for cell phone service. But I do understand the delays and lack of consistent service would drive a sane person insane since the NET is how we all communicate. Good luck and I am cheering for thousands of people to get hired by AT&T but know this will never happen.

  5. We have Charter cable/internet. Works great, usually very reliable, but so is our AT&T land line. If we didn’t need it for business, I’d dump AT&T and go with some VOIP based phone service over cable internet or just use our cellphones which we already pay for. The cable providers all have VOIP and there are third-party companies.

    People complain about Comcast, but family members have it and it seems pretty reliable.

    This is all East TN.

    Our alarm company has a cellpnone backup with its own number. I guess it could be the primary. It has battery backup so even if the robbers cut your power it would still work. Which is an important point about VOIP. It relies on your internet connect, which needs a cable modem and routers etc., so if the power goes out so does your phone. You can get UPS battery backup for it pretty cheap, though, and it would run for a long time.

    As for entertainment, movies, etc., get cable internet (a LOT faster than DSL) and a Roku box for $99. You can get Netfilx, Amazon movies on demand, and a bunch of other stuff. You can also get HBO GO but you have to already be a cable subscriber through your cable company.

  6. greennotGreen

    I use AT&T U-verse for TV and internet, Sprint for cell, no land line. If I didn’t have so many trees and could get HDTV via DirecTV (and if I had known at the time that Rupert Murdoch sold his shares in DirecTV years ago,) I would have stayed with them and kept Sprint as my internet provider. It was slower than AT&T, but I like the DirecTV interface better than U-verse, and the U-verse hardware is pretty kludgy.
    I did have to wait *forever* to get an additional controller installed on a second TV, but it wasn’t critical, unlike internet access. I also bought my own wireless USB network thingamajig because the ones AT&T kept sending were junk.
    In other words, not a perfect solution.

  7. deep

    I use comcast because I have no choice. They’re the only company that services my neighborhood. They could take my money for a week with no service and I’d still be forced to continue paying them if I want ANYTHING.

    I suppose if they pulled that stunt for more than a week maybe I could convince Verizon to wire up my neighborhood for high-speed, but I doubt that would happen. It’s not like Verizon is known for treating their employees well.

    Yay monopolies! That’s the only REAL way to do capitalism.

  8. Randy

    Dekalb County, TN. Dekalb Telephone Co-op for landline. Same issue. Have it for DSL. I do give the number out on applications and stuff where the line has the little asterisk (required field) so the only messages I ever get on the voice mail are from telemarketers. Wireless for everything else.

  9. Tim

    I won’t comment on internet since I’ve had AT&T DSL, comcast, and 3rd party DSL and all were good.

    I haven’t had landline phone in years – I’m cell only. Here’s my advice: find out if you have advanced 911. Years ago I called 911 from my cell and got bounced from dispatch to dispatch until they finally got my local police. Then about 2 years ago I had to call 911 again (in a different county) and was immediately put through to local police who instantly had my location. Very nice.

    (This is my first comment on your blog so let me say I’ve read your blog for some time now and really enjoy your writing and viewpoints.)

    -Tim from Atlanta

  10. Barb_in_GA

    I must be one of the only people who is satisfied with Comcast. Here’s what we’ve got: Two land lines (business and personal), high-speed cable internet, and basic TV cable. (We use Netflix for nearly all our TV viewing) for $150 or so/month. It rarely goes out, and when it does is restored in a matter of hours, if not minutes. We’re in Metro Atlanta — maybe service is different elsewhere?

  11. ThresherK

    I’d give up the landline except for our October snowmageddon (10,000 trees per sq. mi. downed in CT, one week without electricity in our home).

    Our ordinary landline and 20-year-old phone (no caller ID, no nothin’) worked.

    And our cell phones, collectively? It was reminiscent of launching a lifeboat from the Titanic, in which service got restored and was immediately swamped by 10x the carry limit of people trying to use it.

  12. I won’t go into the trouble we’ve had for years….aNd the debacle recently from ATT. I agree…and I also think they are either cons, or their customer service people are stupid. We talked to 3 different people, got 3 different answers and totals….and STILL got a bill for a totally different amount. one person told mere special was good for a year, another told me 6 months. They said We couldn’t Change our Bill Due date wtihout CHANGING OUR PHONE NUMBER..and charging 35 dollars…then didn’t change the date!Then a third person said, oh..you’ve got to change the EXCHANGE, after 2 other people had already done what they said we had to do….

    TOTAL COMPLETE IGNORAMOUSES. Or complete con men!!!

  13. Min

    I still have my landline, because I like having a back-up phone, and I actually prefer talking into a regular phone handset than a cellphone. I’m not nearly as enamoured of cellphones as so many other people are. I find them annoying small and have more difficulty hearing certain people on them.

  14. Southern Beale:

    Thanks for the Youtuber. Was (Not Was) has always been one of my favorite nearly impossible to find bands. I like that they had people like Mel Torme do guest vocals on some of their stuff.

    • You are welcome.

      I met Don Was once, when he was working on Garth Brooks’ “Chris Gaines” project. He was kinda a weird dude. Looked like he hadn’t bathed in a while. Gotta love those creative geniuses.

  15. no Big Names around here, except for the Evil Empire, and they won’t even bother to extend their service out to where I live – which is not surprising in the least. Greedy bastards.

    cableco is local/regional, and about as inept as they can be and still provide service. Local phone/ISP company is getting fiber run in town – the stuff is in the ground here where I live (finally, after two fucking years!), now I just have to wait for the networking crews to work their way through…

  16. SiubhanDuinne

    I’m with Min. I actually dislike cell phones and much prefer an old-fashioned standard-size handset. Mobiles are good for emergencies, or when on the road, but I truly don’t like either the feel of them nor the reception — constant signal drops. As for cable, I’ve had both Comcast and Charter over the past 15-20 years, and they both suck, so I don’t have either one now. I quit watching most TV a few years ago.

    /Curmudgeon in Atlanta

  17. R. Manhammer

    I’m another all-cell person. I dropped the landline a decade ago with zero ill-effects. I find the soul-sucking Verizon Wireless to be quite good on anything except caving to craven right wing thugs in government. I even use their cell-based modem for internet access. Yes, if a hurricane comes through I’m doomed, in internet terms, but I’m sure I’ll find a book to keep me occupied until the system comes back up. I’m far more worried about the electricity for the AC.