AT&T is raising prices again. The new price of caller ID: $9/month up from $6.17/month a year ago. The new price of call waiting: $5/month up from $3.23/month. Find out more.
UCAN believes the rate hikes disproportionately affect low-income and senior customers, and we urge people to drop their AT&T landline service. If you can't switch your local/long-distance provider, consider a VoIP or digital phone service (possibly through your cable company), or even using your wireless as your primary phone.
Want to bring the hammer down on annoying telemarketers? The following guide will give you all the resources you need to get your number off telemarketing lists. But some telemarketers just won't take no NO for an answer. That's when you take them to court and hurt 'em where it counts...in the pocketbook.
Broadband Internet is apparently a class-based utility, a privilege of the wealthy and educated. There has been a lot of talk about the Pew Internet and American Life Project's release of its latest study on home broadband adoption. Some groups have used the opportunity to focus on immediate trends in racial, ethnic, age, and rural vs. urban adoption of broadband internet service. However, there are two larger, more important "big picture" issues that should not be ignored, and are essential to assessing the current broadband Internet situation in the United States.
1) The Internet is still a class based utility and service, readily available in the best quality to the wealthy and highly educated, and only marginally available to those who are poorer and less educated.
2) American broadband Internet service continues to lag behind the world in connection speeds, overall penetration of the population, and price.
The clearest divide in adoption of broadband among groups in the United States is along economic and educational lines. For instance, 76% of Americans with an annual income above $75,000 have broadband Internet connections, compared to only 30% of those with an income of $30,000 or less. As to education, 70% of Americans with a college degree have broadband Internet connections compared to 21% of those without a high school degree.
This highlights the fact that while there is legitimate concern about "net neutrality" (ensuring websites and services being treated fairly and equally by the network providers who connect websites and Internet services and their users) in terms of those who are already seated at the Internet table, there are still large gaps in the of the population not even connected to the Internet. While the Internet may not be a physical necessity like water, it is either quickly becoming, or already has become, like electricity, a social, cultural, and (perhaps most importantly) an economic necessity to be a full part of modern society in a developed country.
This is especially true for young people. Unfortunately, this gap in access for the economically and educationally underserved is eerily reminiscent of our two tiered, apartheid educational system.
Even taken as a whole, it is no secret that America is lagging behind broadband connection speeds and penetration rates worldwide. For instance the PEW study shows 71% of Americans have internet connections of any type, and only 47% have broadband connections. Another study from May of 2007, by ITIF, shows broadband penetration in the U.S. at similar levels, or .51 subscribers per household. The leading nations are South Korea with a rate .90, Iceland with a rate of .83, and the Netherlands with a rate of .73 per household. So the leading nations have broadband penetration rates higher than even the United States total Internet penetration rate.
The average broadband connection speed in the United States is 4.4(mbps) (DSL and Cable in the US are significantly slower than this), versus 61.0 in Japan, 45.6 in Korea, 21.7 in Finland, and 18.2 in Sweden.
And if you think users are paying premiums in these countries for higher speed broadband connections, think again. Cost per 1 mbps in the U.S. is $3.33. Cost in the countries listed above is as follows; Japan- $0.27, Korea- $0.45c, Finland- $2.77, and Sweden- $0.63. Read More
Verizon is currently offering a "Customer Appreciation Service Credit" to its landline customers. The credit is for $40 ($10/month over 4 months) for customers in California, as well as other states (see list below). All you need to do is call Verizon at 888-226-0799 and tell them you are aware of the promotion. They may try to sell you some DSL/DirectTV package. Just tell them "no thanks" and let them know you are happy with your phone service (it should speed things up).
There is a mailing for the promotion, but you do not have to receive it to take advantage of the offer. If you run into any roadblocks, call again, and repeatedly tell the customer service rep the name and details of the promotion. You might also try calling 800-483-3000 (don't press or say anything, just wait until you get a representative).
The promotion should be good for the following states (let us know if you hear of any more):
CA, FL, ME, MD, MA, NY, NJ, OH, PA, TX, VA, WV
Verizon is currently offering a "Customer Appreciation Service Credit" to its landline customers. The credit is for $40 and can be applied over 4 months for customers in California, as well as other states (see list below). All you need to do is call Verizon at 888-226-0799 and tell them you are aware of the promotion. There is a mailing for the promotion, but you do not have to receive it to take advantage of the offer. If you run into any roadblocks, call again, and repeatedly tell the customer service rep the name and details of the promotion. You might also try calling 800-483-3000 (don't press or say anything, just wait until you get a representative).
San Francisco Chronicle: Seven California consumer groups are pig-biting mad over the behavior of California's do-nothing regulators who are allowing AT&T's to raise prices at will for at least 40 business andf consumer services.
Open letter to CPUC from seven consumer advocates on increased prices from the AT&T telephone monopoly
The formerly-regulated companies (Verizon, AT&T, SureWest and Frontier) have imposed higher prices and more restrictive terms and conditions for their service offerings. They have also benefited from consolidation in the marketplace and huge company-wide profits. Contrary to their claims of being hamstrung by competitors, they display all of the hallmarks of unregulated near-monopolies. Is this the outcome the Commission anticipated? Read more.