AT&T just released a new Terms of Service agreement which has a provision that says they can cancel your service if you say bad things about them:
5.1 Suspension/Termination. Your Service may be suspended or terminated if your payment is past due and such condition continues un-remedied for thirty (30) days. In addition, AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) violates the Acceptable Use Policy; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws) or a violation of these TOS, or any applicable policies or guidelines, or(c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.
Fortunately I don’t use AT&T for Internet access and after reading the above I’m not all that likely to do so in the future, but I do use their cellular network at the moment. At least until my contract expires and I can cancel it which I’m seriously considering doing because of bullshit terms like the above. Presumably the clause is aimed more at activities — such as hacking using an AT&T account — more so than writing something critical of AT&T, but they could use it to censor critics if they felt like it and that’s enough to make me avoid them.
Did you know that you can get DSL service from AT&T for $10 a month? It’s only 768k download speed, but for a lot of people who are just browsing the web and reading email that’s plenty fast enough for what they do. Beats the hell out of dialup speeds anyway. A lot of people don’t know about it though because AT&T hasn’t exactly promoted it. In fact it can be somewhat difficult to even find the offering on their website. When I went there just a moment ago I saw several service plans listing prices ranging from $14.99 to $34.99, but nothing that said $10. Then on the lower right hand side there was the following blurb:
You have to answer two questions about if you’ve ever had their services previously or are currently a customer and then they finally present you a full listing of all the available speeds including the $10 768/128 speed. It’s the sort of thing a lot of folks would just overlook. AT&T’s CEO seems to think it’s because no one really wants that speed, or so he claims in a recent Q&A:
Q: Of all the things the AJC has written about AT&T lately, none has caused more reader irritation than AT&T’s $10 a month DSL offer, which was required by the Federal Communications Commission when you bought BellSouth. A lot of folks said they couldn’t find it. It was hard to find on your site. Why?
A: We haven’t made it difficult to find. To be honest with you, that’s not a product that our customers have clamored for. We still have $15 offers out there in the marketplace, even $20 offers, for 1.5 megabit speeds. Those are really kind of the minimum speeds that give a good user experience. So I don’t want to necessarily offer up a product where the user experience is not what I would consider really state of the art. That $10 product is kind of in that mode.
I admit I’m not privy to AT&T’s marketing research, but I can think of plenty of people who’d be happy with the $10 DSL offering as they have little need for anything more and who probably don’t know it exists to begin with. It’s hard to imagine why AT&T wouldn’t just put the price right on the main page with all the other offers they have unless the truth is they really don’t want customers to consider it as an option. At the very least it’s disingenuous to not promote a service and then claim that nobody really wants it.