Individually, the great majority of AT&T personnel are decent people. However, AT&T the corporation is about what you would expect from a near-monopoly driven by the need to satisfy Wall Street and keep those executive bonuses intact.
But today, I am pissed. My residential landline telephone is without a dial tone for the second time in weeks. It is possibly caused by heavy rain.
STEP ONE: Logon to your AT&T account on your computer.
STEP TWO: Dial AT&T’s 24/7 Support Line…
STEP THREE: Listen carefully, navigate the menu, enter all requested information.
STEP FOUR: Select the option to speak to a live agent.
STEP FIVE: Message: Our office is closed. Please call back during regular business hours.
STEP SIX: Logon to your computer account again and submit a ticket.
STEP SEVEN: Refrain from swearing as the automated system tells you your issue will be resolved in eleven days. Followed by the message about repair projections being computed by the number of reported incidents and the number of repair technicians available.
A “new” business model?
I can’t help but wonder if poor service on landlines is part of the strategy to “nudge” customers into abandoning traditional landline service for more modern cellular service? On some level, it makes perfect sense as a business strategy.
Much of the residential copper-based telephone connectivity infrastructure has aged beyond its projected life and continues to decay and crumble over time. Decaying infrastructure requires more maintenance personnel to manage repair, replacement, and build-out as needed. More personnel, especially more unionized personnel, equals constantly rising salaries, healthcare, and pension benefits without corresponding productivity increases. Rising inflation makes the situation worse as interest rates, repair materials, and personnel costs increase.
Even with microwave, satellite, and fiber links, the last miles to a customer’s home remains problematic. Pricing for landline service remains a delicate dance between consumer outrage, political considerations involving public utility regulation, and, of course, profit to satisfy both the executives and the Wall Street Wizards.
The increasing use of cellular communications is making us less resilient and represents a growing danger in times of emergency…
Cell sites handling thousands of calls are prone to power outages, antenna misalignment, natural disasters, hacking, deliberate jamming, and sabotage. Lives that require immediate 9-1-1 assistance and homes protected by cellular systems may be more vulnerable in a natural disaster and with more significant consequences than landlines. <Preparedness Facts: Cellphone vs. landline>
Yes, I am pissed at AT&T, especially since this is the second outage in weeks. But it does provide the opportunity to re-think your emergency preparedness preparations.
We are so screwed.