Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Theodore Vail is spinning in his grave

This is not Mr. Vail's AT&T:
In 1907, Vail returned to what was essentially his previous job, though now the company was known as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, or AT&T. AT&T was in some trouble because its phone patents had expired and other small companies were getting into the business. Suddenly, AT&T had competition. Vail solved this problem in three ways. First, he decided AT&T must have the very best phone system available: he committed the company to building a long-distance system that would cross the entire US. To do this he knew he would have to invest in scientific research, and he encouraged the development of AT&Ts own laboratory, Bell Labs. Second, he cooperated with the competitors, leasing them the use of AT&T's phone lines. Third, he managed to convince the public and the government that the best possible phone system was one that could provide "universal service" around the country -- in essence, the best phone system would come from a monopoly like AT&T.
I discovered today that when I canceled the DSL service that at&t/SBC was unable to provide to my new residence, after two weeks of frustration and confusion, they decided to cancel POTS service too. As of yesterday. Without notice. Does this company actually want me as a customer?

1 comment:

albert said...

I've been trying to get my family to cancel our regular phone service for some time now and just use cell hpones. But for whatever reason, AT&T doesn't want to sell you DSL without it.

Between Skype and cell phones, and Grand Central is really cool too, I don't see any reason we need to be paying for phone service.