I am old enough to remember when ATT was Pacific Bell here in California. I also remember when there was ONE area code for the entire Sf Bay Area. I have held onto a home phone line through every technological change. Why? The popular argument was that “you need it for emergencies like when THE BIG ONE HITS.” Heck, I used to not only have one home phone line, but TWO. One was for business and one for home use. I tried out Caller Id when it first was advertised. Unique ringing? You betcha. Voicemail without an answering machine? Yup, I had it. Then as time passed and that thing called the Internet came into being, I signed up. Dial up at 14.4, then 28.8 and then 56k OH MY! I jumped on the DSL bandwagon when I heard about faster connection speeds. You mean I don’t need ISDN or a T1 line? I was hooked.
I was perfectly happy with ATT for a long period of time. My internet didn’t have connection issues, my phones worked perfectly, and customer service was great. Then something began to change. All of those “extra services” I had on my phone line started to add up. My bill started to creep higher and higher. I wasn’t really getting any deals from ATT. I started to remove services as I acquired a cell phone (yes I still call them that), and I no longer needed their voice mail, etc.
Then my beloved internet was no longer as great as it once was. Even though I was paying for what I THOUGHT was the fastest DSL ATT had available, my speed tests were showing otherwise. I started to have disconnects at 1:30 AM. I am a stickler for trends and data and it seemed odd that almost EVERY night I was having fifteen minutes of down time. This was unacceptable, but I put up with it because what other choice did I have? At the time, Comcast was it, and I wanted to go back to giving them money like I wanted a hole in the head (I had transitioned from cable to satellite tv years before). Something had to give.
After some careful research on the DSL Reports forums, I found out why my connection speeds had degraded. ATT had systematically oversold their network, and connection speeds were suffering as a result. Too many people wanted a piece of the internet pie, and thus everyone was going to suffer. I was able to find a local company that had their own network and divorce myself from ATT completely. It felt wonderful to call them up and tell them goodbye…
Since then, a few years have passed and I was recently down to only having one home phone line. This was my “earthquake phone” for when the GIANT emergency was going to happen in my life. I decided that I didn’t need to pay ATT anything more than the bare minimum so I requested that my service be reduced to measured rate. That is the bottom of the barrel that they offer. Guess what? It’s still over $20 a month with fees!!! Ridiculous huh? It’s funny how almost immediately after requesting this change in service, my dial-tone ceased to exist. I became aware of this when the receiver got knocked off the phone by the cat. I contacted ATT about sending out a repairman. The date and time were set. Unfortunately, ATT hasn’t gotten with the program that other large companies have figured out for service calls. I was given a window from 8 am – 7 pm ON A SATURDAY!!!! Are you kidding me? There wasn’t any system in place of, “our repair representative will call you within one hour of arriving at your address.” There wasn’t a four hour window. No. I was supposed to be under house arrest all day while I waited for someone to show up at my door. Great. Like I didn’t have anything better to do with my time.
So that morning I set my alarm and woke up early. Then I waited. I configured my entire day to be near my front door. I worked in the yard. I did this. I did that. I WANTED to take a shower, but I couldn’t. What if someone showed up then? I gave up at 7 pm because I wanted to do something else with my day. I figured I would call ATT the next day and read them the riot act. I just didn’t have the energy that Saturday, and to be honest, I wanted them to dig their own grave.
The next morning. ON A SUNDAY, there is a guy at my door at 8:30 am. That was when I decided to tell ATT where to stick it. I informed him that I was ending my home service so there wasn’t any reason to look at my home line.
I have since ended my last relationship with ATT. They were unapologetic and didn’t make any effort to keep me as a customer. Instead I am now using Sprint Home Connect.
I used to be concerned about 911 calls, a power outage, and mobile phone networks being down after an emergency. Times have changed though. I have a separate charger for all of my devices that will keep them full of juice for days. The unit that comes with my Home Connect kit has a GPS in it so it will transmit my location WHEREVER I am. It has a multiple day charge to it as well. I can plug in an old-fashioned rotary phone that doesn’t need power and take it with me. My reasoning is that ALL of the mobile networks won’t be out of commission in a disaster. I will just figure out where there IS one that works with this device and roam onto it. What really makes me smile is that I get unlimited local and long distance calls, caller ID, and voice mail FOR LESS THAN ATT’s SHITTY REGULATED HOME SERVICE.
I’m sorry if you’re still using Uverse or whatever crappy internet solution ATT has now. I’m sorry if you still are paying ATT any type of money. Yes, large corporations are basically all the same, but some can actually behave like they give a slight damn about keeping you as a customer. ATT is one of the worst I have ever dealt with. I’m sure Alexander Graham Bell is rolling in his grave.