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The Almighty Buck

AT&T Broadband To Merge With Comcast Cable 214

Posted by Hemos
from the getting-the-markets-down dept.
quualudes was one of the many people to submit the AT&T Broadband/Comcast merger. CNNfn has more of the story as well. 72$ billion is the cost. Wow. I wonder how this affects @Home. One alert reader also submitted the news that Comcast will evidently by launching a video gaming channel - more information will be coming in February 2002.
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AT&T Broadband To Merge With Comcast Cable

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  • press release (Score:5, Informative)

    by cha0sadddddddd (323712) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:16PM (#2729961)
    http://www.att.com/press/item/0,1354,4135,00.html
    • i work in an at&t broadband call center and submitted this hours and hours ago when they told us. must not have been accepted cause i didnt have anything to link to yet.managment told us at about 2:00 mountain time.
  • by Schemat1c (464768)
    Since they went bankrupt. Now it's AT&T Broadband Internet. They've already changed my email address and throttled down my bandwidth. I hope it doesn't get worse.
    • by moncyb (456490)

      It's probably a good thing they set a cap on the bandwidth. I think one of the reasons that @home went bankrupt is because they didn't have such restrictions. Bandwith costs money...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just be thankful they won the bid. The other major bidder was AOL-Time-Warner. Eeww.
    • No problems here.. no slow downs.. no isp switching.. still got all my @home mail/ip junk...
    • Since they went bankrupt. Now it's AT&T Broadband Internet.

      Maybe for you, but not for Cox@Home or Comcast@Home (or Rogers@Home) customers. We still have @Home service until sometime before Feb. 28th...

      • ...but not for ...Comcast@Home...

        ummm, you must not have enve read the summery.

        quualudes was one of the many people to submit the AT&T Broadband/Comcast merger. CNNfn has more of the story as well. 72$ billion is the cost. Wow. I wonder how this affects @Home. One alert reader also submitted the news that Comcast will evidently by launching a video gaming channel - more information will be coming in February 2002
        • Ummm... you must not have read the parent to my post. The poster I replied to said that @Home had become AT&T BI, which isn't true. His internet provider (apparently) changed from AT&T@Home to AT&T BI, but that's not the same thing as @Home becoming AT&T BI. @Home was, is, and will be (for the rest of its short life) a separate company (unless it gets bought out...).

          As for Comcast and AT&T BI merging... that hasn't happened yet, and it won't happen before Feb. 28th. So as I said, nothing has changed (yet) as far as Comcast@Home customers are concerned.

          • Of course, everyone is wrong, and it's all the slashdot editor's fault.

            If he had bothered to read the first paragraph (i think) of the story being linked, he'd see that Comcast is buying solely the cable television and other broadband services, NOT ATT Broadband Internet. ATTBI is being spun off into its own company.

            sheesh.

            -gleam
            • I'm only on my first coffee this morning, so I could have missed it, but I'm pretty sure that none of the articles mentioned ATTBI. I assume that the cable modem unit (whatever they are calling it this week) will come with AT&T Broadband. When you think about it, it doesn't make much sense to sell the cable TV unit without internet. The overhead associated with coordinating 2 separate companies, one to manage the physical network and cable tv service, the other to provide cable internet, is too much.

              Look what happened with @Home and Road Runner to name a couple examples. @Home died and RR is confined to TWC (its parent company) areas. If ATT continued its delusion that it was competent enough to run its own ISP, it would run it into the ground.

              As an ATTBB subscriber I can only hope that this means service will improve. AT&T broadband has been simply awful - awful cable TV hardware, awful customer support, awful internet speeds (not to mention after they bought mediaone they raised the internet price $6 while speeds continue to get slower). They've proven they can't run a decent biz, and I'd like them out of my home.
              • I totaly agree, what Broud band providers are FINALY discovering is that it is not profitable to run both the lines and the ISP. that is why companies like ameritech are allowing Prodegy to host ISP services, and why AOL is making deals to host services over phone lines and Earthlink, who has always done this, only resells.

                RR is definatly not profitable for ATW, and @home was just to abstract(a provider who contracted with companies to give hardware and software to the companies own ISP)

                just resell the service over a line someone else owns and no one gets hurt.
  • well, crap (Score:3, Funny)

    by 3prong (241218) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:19PM (#2729972)
    Dammit, I switched to cable to get away from the chaos in DSL-land!
  • Praise Murphy for he has saved me from having my cable modem taken over by AOL or Microsoft! All give praise to Murphy, for he has not forsaken us. Praise may also be given that I don't have to look at satelite service.
    • Re:Praise Murphy (Score:2, Informative)

      by stupidNewbie (537989)
      ... the article says Microsoft was involved financially... i would bet a whole dollar that the Redmond grip will be felt eventually....
    • Microsoft was backing the comcast deal.
      I read about it before, and the article above mentioned it. In fact Microsoft was offering cash on 3 of the 4 possible outcomes for what AT&T would end up doing. Why is microsoft offering cash to 3 of the 4 parties? remember that whole 'set top box' software debate? I wouldn't be at all suprized if comcast announced that microsoft was now going to be providing them with set top box software.
  • Myself and 100% of my friends who I know have cable with AT&T are in the process of switching to DSL and dropping AT&T due to the steady degradation of service, culminating in the @Home debacle.

    Do Comcast know that AT&T may be about to lose a huge proportion of their customers?
    • I don't think that Comcast really cares about all the people quitting the internet service.
      Keep in mind that AT&T Broadband is still the largest cable company in the U.S. So I think that what Comcast really wants is the regions that AT&T Broadband cable television is covering.
      So although people may be leaving cable modems to go to dsl they aren't necessarily going to leave their cable television service, which is what I think Comcast really wants.
      • IIRC my city is currently sueing AT&T Broadband for providing substandard service to pretty much everyone, and i personally consider the service i get to be realy crappy, I pay 1.5x more for 52 channels out near the edge of the county than people pay for digital cable 20 miles further into town, and the signal strength is weak even woth one of their amplifiers (adds even more to my bill)
  • ATT is dumb (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by alen (225700)
    I work for a company that does business with ATT and once in a while in meetings with management they always say how screwed up they are. Totally different systems for everything. The poor customer service people have to look at numerous systems just to find out what the customer's problem is.
    • Re:ATT is dumb (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jburkholder (28127)
      ATT wasn't able to evolve its IT systems to keep up with changes in its business. I remember back, prolly '94, reading about how they had a hundred or more different systems and how they had the enormous task of consolidating and modernizing these systems, the goal being a unified view of the customer (rather than the vertical systems they had for each business).

      It wasn't that they didn't recognize this problem or try to do anything about it. They never came up with a workable strategy. Frankly, I'm not sure how you would even begin to tackle a problem like this.
      • put all the Customer data into a huge database, placing each business the company runs in a seperate database,create an abstraction database that can pull from each sub database, and then hide all the diffrent applications behind a nice HTML/Javascript/VBA interface(including the database)

        hey!! it worked for the state of Michigan!!! and everyone knows how efficient and well operating burocracies are.......right?
    • Keep in mind that AT&T Broadband is a mixture of other companies (TCI Cable and MediaOne for example) so it dosn't exactly shock me that they have a mixture of different systems.
  • I wonder how this affects @Home.

    Considering that @Home is closing its doors in a little over 2 months, I doubt it'll have any effect on @Home. The only way it might affect them is if Comcast were to also buy @Home (perhaps so they have a ready-built backbone to trasition customers to).

  • by Xerithane (13482) <xerithane@@@nerdfarm...org> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:26PM (#2729997) Homepage Journal
    Comcast issues a more clear statement, saying they had brought AT&T flowers. The type of flowers were thought to be tulips, falling in with the funeral metephor.

    Upon further inquiry, it seems AT&T has decided that they really just suck at being a large company and had to split once again, this time under their own influence, into several smaller companies.

    If only certain other companies [microsoft.com] could make the same blundering mistakes to cause large debt requiring spinoffs....
    • Perhaps the tulips represented "Tulip Mania," or the current incarnation of the frenzy - this time in mergers.
    • Upon further inquiry, it seems AT&T has decided that they really just suck at being a large company and had to split once again, this time under their own influence, into several smaller companies.

      Or more accurately, the AT&T executives have realized that they can make out like bandits every time they split or merge-- regardless of how it affects the company.

      I'm curious about what's left now that AT&T's spun off Wireless and Broadband. Long distance, as AT&T was so fond of telling us a couple years ago, is headed for the toilet in a few years. Wide area data networking is a overbuilt and likely to stay that way for a long time to come.

      So what's the future for this company?

  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:26PM (#2730000)
    AT&T, since Armstrong became CEO, has been an ongoing tale of poor decisions and huge losses. Its worth noting that AT&T lost money owning the cable business - Armstrong was paid an astounding amount to build the cable empire at AT&T only to sell it for less than it cost him. Pathetic. Armstrong clearly needs to go, but at this point its unlikely AT&T will survivce in any case - they will almost certainly be swallowed by SBC.

    As for the cable business, Comcast can only be an improvement. AT&T service was dismal, but typical of this truly out of date corporate dinosaur.

    • I love America.

      Ma Bell gets broken up.

      Baby Bells join into SBC.

      Remaining AT&T collapses under it's own weight (and stupidity).

      SBC swallows AT&T.

      Life .. feeds on Life .. feeds on Life ..
      • Well, not exactly...

        >Baby Bells join into SBC.

        Southwest Bell was one of the seven baby bells (BellSouth, Bell Atlantic, Ameritech, US West, NyNex, PacTel and SW Bell) and they went on to acquire PacTel and Ameritech and are now SBC.

        Bell Atlantic and NyNex merged and (I lost track) then became Verizon when GTE came to the party.

        >SBC swallows AT&T

        When did this happen? AT&T has been disintegrating on its own for some time now (Wireless, now broadband leaving). SBC hasn't had much to do with it (yet).
        • SBC swallows AT&T -
          When did this happen?

          SBC has been in talks to acquire AT&T for months. Losing the cable business was the provision for the deal to go forward. I expect AT&T to be part of SBC by March at the latest.

    • >Armstrong clearly needs to go

      Armstrong is going to head this 'new company'.

      AT&T Chairman C. Michael Armstrong ... will serve as chairman of the new company when the merger closes. ... Comcast President Brian Roberts will be chief executive officer.


      He was going to retire in 2003, now he gets to go drive another company into the ground. I can't wait to see what happens to my service now. Up until October, we had MediaOne express (even though AT&T had bought M1 over a year prior), then we were migrated to @Home-less for the 2 months before they cut their service to AT&T and we were moved to attbi. I give it about 18 months before this goes bust and AOL/TW buys it and moves us onto something else.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Armstrong's big play when he came into AT&T and bought the Broadband and Wireless businesses and announced the Fixed Wireless development was that AT&T would be able to stop needing the LECs to access a large fraction of US telephone users, saving boatloads of money and creating real competition. (Similarly, the Northpoint DSL buy and the Covad-based DSL services play wiht that.) The technical developments that were needed to make all three-four networks play together were substantial, and they weren't successfully implemented - they got distracted by the Cable Openness political fiasco, and the cable tv networks were a technically bad patchwork instead of an integrated system, and IP telephony technology was much farther away from practical scalable working equipment than they needed to win, but fundamentally they had to get out of the old telco architectural mindsets and the old long distance telephony business mindsets. Doing the job right requires radically changing the architecture and barbequeing their cash cow before somebody else does it - if Armstrong's big gamble had been executed well, they'd have had the bigness they need to make it possible to stick together afterwards, but it didn't happen.
    • they will almost certainly be swallowed by SBC

      wasn't SBC a Spin off of ATT back in the late 60's early 70's in an attempt to keep federal anti-trust hounds back? you know the good old "look, we have competition"

      oh the irony.

      SBC is scary....

      the whole country seems to be in this movement back to one huge consolidated telecom industry again. Pac bell/SBC/?
      regional monopolies are just as bad as national ones.
      • Well, SBC Communications is the monster formerly known as Southwestern Bell, which was one of the regional "Baby Bells" that was formed when the feds forced the breakup of the Bell System monopoly. This lead to the regional providers, which have since merged back into a handful of big companies, and an AT&T that had competition in the LD business from MCI, Sprint, etc.

        Federal law was supposed to push the regional providers to open their markets to competition. The baby bells, which desperately want to offer their own LD service, had to open their markets to competitors before they would be allowed to offer LD. (ugh..run-on sentence) Anyway, while most large markets have some competition for business service, there isn't much for residential service. However, the regulators, in their wisdom, have been allowing SBC to offer LD service now, even though they've done little to open up their markets.
        • hmmm, well, there is this company called talk america in the detroit area (not offered in all places though) that offers Local and long distance calling. you pay $30 per month, never pay a monthly charge for the extra stuff (call waiting, etc.) have unlimited local calles(local is from southern wayne county to northern oakland county to western livingston county....Huge huge huge area), 1000 min on local toll calls,free calls to other members (even if they are out of your local calling area) and 5 cents per min on out of state calls.

          I wish I had this available to me in my area, but it is not yet available :-(....for a woman I work with though, she has it and loves it.
  • didn't att buy all the pieces for their broadband empire for $100 billion? now theyre selling it off for $72bil
  • did you notice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BigBir3d (454486)
    ...that Microsoft gets $5 billion in "preferred securities as part of the deal?"

    I guess that is better than AOL Time Warner buying AT&T Broadband.

    *sigh*
    • Actually, Microsoft offered to INVEST $5 Billion into AT&T Broadband if AT&T kept their service independent. Then they agreed to convert $5 Billion worth of securities into shares of the new AT&T Comcast.
    • Microsoft gets $5 billion in "preferred securities as part of the deal?"

      that's okay, part of the reason that AT&T is in the shitter is because they agreed to buy some 1 million shares of @Home for $20 each and @Home has been taking the steps to complete the transaction, now that they're at 43c a share. Stock deals always screw somebody.

      Of course, Microsoft can spend $20 million on lunch.
  • @Home? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aka-ed (459608)
    I wonder how this affects @Home.

    Is that a joke? @Home is unrelated to this deal. ATT had a minority equity interest in "Excite@Home," the company that went bankrupt. AT&T is just a losing investor there.

    "AT&T@Home" was a brand name for @Home service distributed by AT&T Digital Cable, not a corporate entity.

    • From the Comcast Press Releases [comcast.com] page.

      Terms of the agreement

      Under the terms of the definitive agreement, AT&T will spin off AT&T Broadband and simultaneously merge it with Comcast, forming a new company to be called AT&T Comcast Corporation.

      AT&T shareholders will receive approximately 0.34 shares of AT&T Comcast Corporation for each share of AT&T they own (subject to adjustment based on the number of AT&T shares at closing). Comcast shareholders will receive one share of AT&T Comcast Corporation for each Comcast share they own.

      AT&T shareowners will own a 56 percent economic stake and about a 66 percent voting interest in the new company. The Roberts family, which owns Comcast Class B shares, will control one third of the new company's outstanding voting interest.

      AT&T Comcast Corporation's assets will consist of both companies' cable TV systems, as well as AT&T's interests in cable television joint ventures and its 25.5 percent interest in Time Warner Entertainment, and Comcast's interests in QVC, E! Entertainment, The Golf Channel, and other entertainment properties.

      The new company will assume nearly $20 billion in debt and other liabilities from AT&T and its subsidiaries, as well as $5 billion of AT&T subsidiary trust convertible preferred securities held by Microsoft Corporation, making the aggregate value of the transaction to AT&T shareholders worth $72 billion, based on the closing price of Comcast Class K stock on December 19.

      AT&T shareowners would receive value equivalent to $13.07 per AT&T share based on Comcast's closing share price on Wednesday, December 19, while retaining complete ownership of AT&T's traditional communications businesses.

      In conjunction with the transaction, Microsoft Corporation has agreed to convert the $5 billion of AT&T subsidiary trust convertible preferred securities into 115 million shares of AT&T Comcast Corporation.

  • Restrictions? (Score:2, Informative)

    by MiTEG (234467)
    The ATTBI service agreement was just about the most restricitve contract [att.com] I've ever seen at an ISP. You weren't even allowed to post material that would be "considered embarrassing to a reasonable person"! Maybe this merger will make the agreement a little more sensible (and increase the bandwith cap while their at it too!)
    • Re:Restrictions? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShadeEagle (153172) <tehshingen@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:00PM (#2730143) Journal
      Read it closer... especially the last few lines.

      They guarantee nothing, save that you get a bill.

      Oh, and if you sue them, YOU pay the lawyer fees regardless of whether you win or lose.

      Copy 'n pasted from the Second Example: (Caps and all...)
      FINALLY, YOU AGREE TO DEFEND, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS AT&T AND THIRD PARTIES WHO CONTRIBUTE TO THE AT&T WORLDNET HIGH SPEED SERVICE FROM ANY LOSS, DAMAGE, OR COST (INCLUDING ATTORNEYS' FEES) RESULTING FROM YOUR VIOLATION OF THIS AGREEMENT OR ANY ACTIVITY RELATED TO YOUR AT&T WORLDNET HIGH SPEED ACCOUNT.

      In the first two examples, read "You're Responsible" REAL closely.

      More Examples:
      http://www.attbi.com/general-info/policies.html
      http://www.att.net/general-info/terms.html
      http://www.att.com/terms/
      • Re:Restrictions? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by foobar104 (206452)
        FINALLY, YOU AGREE TO DEFEND, INDEMNIFY, AND HOLD HARMLESS AT&T AND THIRD PARTIES WHO CONTRIBUTE TO THE AT&T WORLDNET HIGH SPEED SERVICE BLAH BLAH BLAH I'M SO STUFFY GIVE ME A SCONE

        Believe it or not, this is completely typical stuff probably cut-and-pasted out of a boilerplate terms and conditions for commercial service document.

        Any time you sign up for any kind of service, from telephone all the way up to managed technical support like my company sells, you're told in the sales contract that you're waiving your rights to sue in case something goes wrong. It's right up there with the "no warranty express or implied, including guarantee of merchantability or fitness of purpose" language that goes in every software license agreement.

        It's the company's way of saying, "Just because we're providing you with this product or service, don't think we're accepting the full and permanent responsibility for any deranged misuses of our product or service that you might think of with your sick little mind."

        So if you violate the AT&T terms and conditions and they shut off your connection, thereby costing you umpteen million boxtops in lost business from your work-from-home pyramid scheme web site, don't think you can run to your lawyer and claim damages.

        On the other hand, if AT&T violates their end of the bargain in any way-- although I can't think of an example; those T&C documents are usually pretty well written-- you still have all those rights and privileges that flesh is heir to.

        So don't get all huffy about these conditions. They're nothing new or unusual.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:30PM (#2730019)
    I pay $20 for cable TV every month through a deal my neighborhood struck with AT&T Broadband (read : the majority of idiot around where I live have imposed this shit to people who wanted something else). Net result : my channel offering is the crappiest I've ever seen, and all the remaining good channels have been taken away slowly one after the other by AT&T-B without anybody being able to complain about it.

    Now I guess I'll have only the Home Shopping Network, the weather channel, and the 3 (*3*!) religious-oriented channels left before I can finish posting this. Oh well, time to sell that TV and the TiVo and start reading again ...

    • Do you have Digital Cable or regular? ATT is pushing digital cable hard and thus cutting back its regular channels.

      Digital cable is a pretty good deal though. I get about 300 channels of programming (including all HBO's, cinemax, etc), Cable modem, and local phone line for about $110 a month. not a bad deal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:31PM (#2730020)
    According to the press release on Comcast, AT&T stockholders will receive 0.34 share of Comcast for each share of AT&T they own, which is currently worth about $13.07. AT&T stock is currently selling for about $16-17. Unless there's some radical realignment in stock prices (e.g. Comcast getting hit because of the debt they're acquiring along with the assets), that means there's either some major synergy going on or else the market thinks that the rest of AT&T is worth about $4 :-) Hope it's the former...
    • According to the press release on Comcast, AT&T stockholders will receive 0.34 share of Comcast for each share of AT&T they own, which is currently worth about $13.07. AT&T stock is currently selling for about $16-17. Unless there's some radical realignment in stock prices (e.g. Comcast getting hit because of the debt they're acquiring along with the assets), that means there's either some major synergy going on or else the market thinks that the rest of AT&T is worth about $4 :-) Hope it's the former...

      Actually, it's probably the first thing you mentioned: CMCSK will probably get hit hard tomorrow because of the debt they're taking on... conversely, shares of AOL should gap up at the open, since they're not buying AT&T BI. Such is the strange world of the short-term voting machine known as the stock market...

    • No you don't understand, AT&T isn't going bankrupt! AT&T stockholders are still keeping their shares, but as comcast is paying AT&T money, that money gets filtered out to the stockholders, so basically each stockholder gets effectivly a dividend of .34 cents. Or are you refering to the fact that stocks shouldn't cost more than 20 times their earnings? HAHAHHA and you think stock price has anything to do with the real world?
  • what once was old... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bubbasatan (99237)
    is new again...

    I used to have Comcast cable television and broadband internet service. When AT&T bought MediaOne, they also acquired the Comcast division that serviced my area. Eventually, the switch was made to calling the service AT&T broadband. I find it somewhat amusing that less than a year later, I'm about to be back on Comcast. AT&T broadband was so bad that I switched back to DSL and abandoned my cable television entirely. All AT&T seemed able to do was remove good channels (WGN Chicago, Speedvision, and some others) and run commercials advertising 5 non-functional customer service phone numbers and about a zillion ads informing paying customers that stealing cable tv is a crime. Maybe Comcast will learn something from AT&T's plans to take over the cable industry. Somehow, I kinda doubt it. At least maybe now I can have decent cable tv again.
  • by sinnyin (530106)
    http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1004-200-8236344.html? tag=mn_hd
  • Just be glad AT&T isn't owned by Enron. http://www.forbes.com/2001/12/05/1205enron.html At least AT&T's employees still have jobs, 401k's and stock options.
  • by doggo (34827) on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @10:36PM (#2730046) Homepage
    Crap!

    Just when I was hoping my damn connection would get stable. Got a signal to the cable modem a half hour ago after another 6 days outage after the 5 day outage during the excite debacle.

    Now what, we gotta change all our settings, e-mail forwarding, accounts, etc.?

    Can anyone recommend a high speed internet provider in Chicago that looks stable financially, and provides good service. And, dare I ask, has technicians that know their asses from gopher holes?

    Or do I have to use the built-in 56K modem on my new iBook indefinitely?

    Whatta pile a horse pucky!
  • I started with mediaone, which was bought by comcast. Now comcast is changing our email addresses, saying that they are moving our network off @home, but they were outsourcing tech support to ATT already, so essentially we were paying comcast for @home service and ATT support.

    Looks like it's all going right to comcast now though so we may yet have one company providing our service.

    On the good side - mediaone did an outstanding job setting up the network here (Ann Arbor cable rebuild) and I peak at 2.2Mb/S - if I'm talking to a fast server. Luckily UofMichigan mirrors all the important distributions and I get them at that speed.

    Hopefully comcast will not only not fix it if it's not broken, but they will use this as a model for their other cable services elsewhere. 2.2Mb/S isn't ideal broadband, but it's certianly a step in the right direction.

    -Adam
    • but they were outsourcing tech support to ATT already

      Who in turn outsource THEIR tech support to the same company who does some FedEx tech support and customer service, among MANY other companies.

      I happen to work for the company that is outsourced, and quite frankly - does it really matter if it's outsourced? In fact, AT&T likes our call centre - we do a LOT better than some of the other centres that do tech support for AT&T. And the customers like us too, at least for the better part.

      Besides, companies outsourcing customer service and tech support to other companies means that more money can go into providing better service. (At least in theory...)

      And lastly, cats and kittens, if you read the story, it's just the cable TV portion of AT&T Broadband. Not the AT&T broadband that does the internet. But I wouldn't doubt that a deal for SOME company to buy out AT&T's Internet business would happen eventually.

      Just my 2 cents.
  • Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by alsta (9424)
    I think it is very funny (as in peculiar) that mergers like this happen. And once this all ends up being some kind of OmniCorp(tm) people start looking around saying that it is terrible that we have another monopoly. I rather fancy the analogy from Demolition Man, where Taco Bell has become the only survivor of the fast food chains.

    Shakedown between AOL/Time Warner and ComCast/AT&T anytime soon? Likely to go on for years and cost tramendous amounts of money. Money that the customer will have to pay once the winner has the monopoly...

    Or maybe I am just paranoid and this is all not going to happen. But I think it's interesting nevertheless.
  • I signed up with MediaOne, which shortly thereafter merged with RoadRunner, which in turn followed pretty quickly into "AT&T Broadband". Now it's going to be ComCast? In that time, things have been on a downward trend, in terms of service and reliability, and the support has gone from not-too-bad, to utterly hopeless (especially since they outsourced to that outfit in Canada).

    Anyone know if they are going to make further cuts in service? (ie, speeds, usenet feeds, etc)
  • A desire to block AOL Time Warner from winning AT&T's cable unit led software provider Microsoft Corp. to provide financial assistance to both the Comcast bid as well as the bid of competing cable operator Cox Communications Inc.


    Is this a version of the 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' rule? It really makes it hard to keep track of these companies with them exchanging stock and securities the way they do.

  • My local cable provider Midcontinent decided that they would assume the repsonsibility of running the cable service in our state since @home won't be able to do so. Then I hear all you guys bitchin about how your service is going down the tubes. It makes me feel special, because I haven't noticed one change. We had the same speed/reliability before it changed to @home, and will have it after it changes to AT&T because the company here maintains all the stuff. Its great.
  • by tsmit (222375)
    When do you expect to complete the merger with Comcast?
    We anticipate that the transition will be completed by nine to 12 months. AT&T Broadband will continue to provide support for your AT&T Broadband Internet service until the merger is complete.

    Will my service change in any way?
    As an AT&T Broadband Internet customer, you can expect to receive a reliable, fast, always-on connection to the Internet. The changes in our business will not cause service interruptions and, at this time, we anticipate no changes to your service. As we have done in the past, any future changes or enhancements to your service will be announced well in advance.

    Will AT&T Broadband Internet move back to the @Home network as a result of the merger with Comcast?
    We anticipate no changes to your service. As we have done in the past, any future changes or enhancements to your service will be announced well in advance.

    Will my prices increase as a result of this merger?
    AT&T Broadband's prices reflect the cost of providing service and operating the business. There are no price increases associated with the announcement of this merger.

    Why do you keep changing your brand name?
    The Internet business is a rapidly changing and developing industry. Over the past four years, we have worked hard to provide the latest technology and best-in-class service. Companies and brands have changed as there have been mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.

    Will my bill change?
    Your bill and billing cycle will remain the same for the time being. Any changes to your billing cycle or the appearance of your bill will be announced and explained prior to the change.

    Will I have the same contact methods for Customer Care?
    Your customer care contacts won't change as a direct result of the planned merger with Comcast. Our Online Customer Support Center will continue to provide chat and e-mail links so you can reach a specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, you may call the same phone number for Customer Care, as there are no immediate changes planned for telephone support numbers.

    How will you keep me informed of any upcoming changes to my service?
    As we have done in the past, any future changes or enhancements to your service will be announced well in advance via your AT&T Broadband Internet e-mail account, direct mail and the Announcements and Updates section of this site.

    Will there be any further disruption to my service?
    We are committed to providing you with quality and reliable high-speed cable Internet service. The previous disruption to your high-speed cable Internet service was result of Excite@Home's Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing. There are no planned disruptions to your AT&T Broadband service as a result of the proposed merger.

    Will my e-mail address change? What about my personal Web page address?
    We do not expect any near-term changes that would effect either your AT&T Broadband Internet e-mail address or your Web page address. Down the road, some changes may be necessary. If that occurs, we will notify you well in advance to address any needed changes.

    Will my payment method change?
    Your current payment via credit card or billing statement payment process will not change as a result of this merger. We will we will notify you well in advance if there are any changes to your payment method.

    If I have AT&T Broadband Internet, will I get Comcast service after the merger?
    There are no immediate changes to your AT&T Broadband Internet service. At this time, we do not know any details regarding when you might be able to receive the Comcast service. Unless otherwise notified, you will continue to receive AT&T Broadband Internet as your high-speed cable Internet service.

    Will my home page change again?
    There are no immediate changes to your AT&T Broadband Internet service.

    Will I still be able to use my AT&T Broadband Internet log-in information?
    There will be no immediate changes to your AT&T Broadband Internet service. At this time, we do not know any details regarding when you might be able to receive the Comcast service. Unless otherwise notified, you should continue to use your AT&T Broadband Internet username and password. As we have done in the past, any future changes or enhancements to your service will be announced well in advance.

    Will the minimum system requirements for my computer change again?
    We don't anticipate any changes in the minimum system requirements at this time.

    Will you be offering any additional features to the service?
    Yes, we have several technical trials and market trials underway right now and expect to announce new features beginning next year.

    Does this mean that I will finally be able to get high-speed Internet in my neighborhood? I've been waiting for years. (Will the upgrade be any faster?)
    We can't give you a specific timeframe for the introduction of high-speed Internet services in your neighborhood. We're working to introduce the service in as many communities as quickly as we can.
  • I've just spent the past year pleading with AT&T Broadband to extend their broadband Internet access just another couple of miles. Looks like I'm gonna have to start all over again.
  • It both sucks and blows. They rearranged the diverse public interest channels so they could give us, "AT&T 3 - Wicked Cool TV" Comprised of mainly ancient reruns including Gomer Pyle USMC, college football, a home shopping channel they already have on the cable lineup, and as for their "NEWS" well, it looks as if the high school drama club has made the big time.

    This summer, I was disconnected on a Tuesday. I called them and after some hemming and hawing on their part, they finally agreed to reconnect me on Friday. I had to call a relative on the state comission that regulates cable TV to get them to move it up a day. I also had this relative get them to credit me for two weeks as recompense for disconnecting me in error. Yes, that's right, AT&T Broadband cut me off in error.

    The picture quality on some channels is bad, the volume varies wildly between the satellite programming and locally inserted commercials.

    You wait for at least 30 minutes while trying to get someone to answer a phone, oh, and their phone service! Once you've navigated phone menu hell, you listen to crappy music and hear some dweeb tell you to jot down the emergency phone number.

    The emergency phone number presents you with exactly the same phone menu hell you get when you dial the regular phone number. And you still wait forever.

    Thank Dobbs that the Boston cable TV system has been bought by a real cable TV company.

    Someone else can use this here soapbox now.
  • Okay... now which of these companies has the best TOS (ie, the most liberal)?

    Any predictions about TOS changes for the better or worse?
  • AT&T is going crazy lately. Trying to buy @Home, dropping @Home, billion dollar mergers. Why? Hopefully they won't decide to raise prices again. They seem to enjoy doing that. Oh yeah, and digital cable TV isn't as good as it sounds.

    Of course, I wonder. The article says, "..and leaves AT&T with its shrinking consumer and business long-distance telephone and data operations." Are they TRYING to destroy themselves? Sell a good chunk of the customers! Raise prices! Drop out half our customer's internet service for a week and replace it with slower service! This does not sound like a good company.
    • Re:AT&T in Cash Town (Score:2, Informative)

      by aka-ed (459608)
      The article says, "..and leaves AT&T with its shrinking consumer and business long-distance telephone and data operations." Are they TRYING to destroy themselves? Sell a good chunk of the customers! Raise prices! Drop out half our customer's internet service for a week and replace it with slower service! This does not sound like a good company.

      AT&T has been aware that its core businesses are shrinking, have been aware for a long time. The big purchase of broadband interests was Michael Armstrong's plan to reposition the company.

      But these businesses were purchased at the peak of the Bubble. Much debt accrued. And the Bubble burst. Hence the need to sell, in order to service the debt that is crushing the company. Hence also the need for AT&T to try to price services in a way that will minimize their loss per customer.

      You're right, the company is in godawful shape, but if you understand the forces at work, it's not difficult to understand why.

  • by Angry Black Man (533969) <vverysmartman.hotmail@com> on Wednesday December 19, 2001 @11:37PM (#2730249) Homepage
    As an ATT Broadband subscriber for TV, Internet, and PHONE, I can say that I have been following this case very closely. To sum up the whole bidding wars: its basically AOL vs. MSFT.

    AOL was heavily looking into buying the corp which made MSFT very scared. MSFT's entire coming business plans rely on broadband: .NET, My services, even the Xbox cant be fully used without broadband. Earlier, Bill Gates said he thought the BB market was moving to slowly. If AOL were to get the deal, MSFT's plans would be severly crippled.

    MSFT started backing COX and COMCAST in the bidwars. I can say I am thankful that comcast won, even though its basically the least of the two evils (AOL vs. MSFT).

    This deal is a lot more important than just ATT. It could play a huge role in both AOL and MSFT's core strategies.
  • That's almost twice as many as AOL.

    So does this mean AOL will finally change their f!@#ing "No Wonder It's Number 1!!" Slogan?!

    If so, that makes this merger fine by me ;)
  • by sg3000 (87992)
    I read all the stories and I still can't figure it out? Is my email domain changing again? home.com -> attbi.com -> urscrewed.com
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1890s - Many small telephone companies exist in the USA. Calling from coast to coast is a slow, tedious process

    1900s - AT&T is formed as a union between the various telephone companies, and becomes "the telephone company"

    1900-1983 - AT&T network is built. While originally something only the rich and technically elite and adept have, the telephone soon becomes an fixture in every American home. Enormous technological advances enable faster, more reliable calling. Despite the size and complexity of the AT&T "Bell System", the "One company, universal service" concept enables quick, easy and reliable service coast to coast

    1983-84 - AT&T is declared a monopoly and is ordered to divest itself of its local service providers and stick to providing long distance services. While this move created competition, it also created confusion and a general decline in the quality of service provided by long distance carriers and local phone companies. Cost cutting measures result even worse service to the customer. Calling coast to coast can become a slow and tedious process.

    1995 - The online world exists in the form of local BBSes and various online networks such as CompuServe, Delphi, GEnie etc. Sending messages and communicating from network to network is a slow and tedious process. The Internet becomes available to the general public, linking up these disconnected resources into one common network, allowing information to pass from network to network easily.

    1995-2001 - The Internet, once something only the rich and technically elite and adept have, soon becomes a fixture throughout the world. Enormous technical advances allow faster, more reliable network connections. Despite the Inernet's size, the universal TCP/IP standard ensures quick, reliable information flow between computers around the world.

    2002 - AT&T begins purchasing local ISPs and nationwide service providers and soon becomes "the Internet company."

    2003 - AT&T is once again declared a monopoly and is ordered to divest itself into separate companies. Individual regional networks form separate from nation and world wide "long haul" networks, giving the customers the choice of who carries their data around the world. Cost cutting measures cause a decline in the quality and reliability of various internet providers.

    Any paralells?

    -Wembley
  • I read that Comcast is offering HDTV signals over cable to some customers in PA. Any guesses on if this will get rolled out to AT&T Customers?
  • I'm a MediaOne, er, no I mean AT&T customer, er, uh, wait, Comcast customer...

    I just want to know if I'm still going to be able to keep my blah@mediaone.net address until 2020 when M$ provides my service.
  • offered a little more for @HOME. If they had, they'd probably be solidly on top of the Broadband heap (as well as solidly in debt). Refer to this [slashdot.org] article for more info.
    • For two reasons I am glad they didn't.

      1) The AT&T network suffers from less latency. The @Home network was terrible. For you Quakers out there, I am speaking of pings ranging from 50 to 200 with @Home and generally under 40 for AT&T Broadband.

      2) AT&T would have a cable Internet monopoly. Well, it turns out that they are going in that direction anyway, but still...

      I doubt that the two reasons I gave you had anything to do with the decision to ditch @Home. It was probably some financial aspect involved as well, such as @Home wanting a lot more than they had charged previously. And then there is the case with Armstrong...
      • Well, I'm not a guy to go around rooting for a monopoly but, it would've been interesting to see a monopolist AT&T going up against a monopolist Microsoft - seeing as Microsoft's future seems to be .NET.

        Maybe in an alternate universe... maybe IBM would've chosen CP/M, maybe IBM would've kept a tighter reign on their OS/2 contractor (Microsoft) and not let them release a home version - Windows, maybe AT&T would've offered a bit more for @HOME, maybe AL GORE would've been president (hic) and Microsoft would probably not have been slapped on the wrist and let off so easily.

        I dunno... maybe.
  • MS screwed AOL once again :)
    • AOL has been screwed since day one. They have painted themselves into a very colorful corner and can't get out. Think about this: They're whole business is based on software that is tied to their executioner - Microsoft.

      They never learn! You sleep with Microsoft, you get burned. For example: Spyglass, Sybase, Novell, Citrix, Norton, and now probably AOL. Norton is still around but...

      How many of you remember these days [usatoday.com]?
      • AOL has been screwed since day one. They have painted themselves into a very colorful corner and can't get out. Think about this: They're whole business is based on software that is tied to their executioner - Microsoft.

        BZZZT! The Time Warner in AOL Time Warner now is the biggest revenue contributor. Yes AOL's online service is beholden to MS, but this is not the "whole" business for them, not by a longshot. Arguably AOL is now more of an intellectual property arbiter with the huge assets Time Warner brought to the table. Look who is succeeding Gerald Levin - Parsons from Time Warner, not Pittman from AOL. Hint hint.

        • Ouch! Watch that zapper buddy.

          I was speaking of the *part* of AOL Time Warner that is "AOL". That part stands to wither quite rapidly if Microsoft wants them to.

          I figure that the Netscape investment was a kind of "you screw me I'll screw you" type of thing against Microsoft. Microsoft originally jumped ahead of Netscape, in marketshare, because AOL jumped in bed with Microsoft - by adopting Internet Explorer as it's browser. Now AOL is holding a new card by slyly suggesting that they'll use Netscape as their browser if Microsoft trys anything. Such a move would shuffle the numbers of browser users nicely in Netscape's favor.

          Microsoft is now playing footsie with the Broadband business in a play against AOL. If Microsoft gets their hands on the infrastructure then AOL is a dead plucked chicken and they know it.
          Remember, there can be only one. What will happen to UNIX if Microsoft slowly takes over the internet? I hope to GOD I don't have to see it happen.
  • by cowboy junkie (35926) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @09:20AM (#2731463) Homepage
    TCI buys Viacom cable. AT&T buys TCI cable. Comcast buys AT&T cable. All in less than a decade.

    Always a good time to see who owns what [cjr.org]

  • Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainSuperBoy (17170) on Thursday December 20, 2001 @10:59AM (#2731929) Homepage Journal
    AT&T sucks. They have managed to purchase a decent cable/broadband company and singlehandedly run it into the ground. Since AT&T's purchase of Mediaone, we've been subjected to increased downtime, crappy digital cable service, slow internet, awful customer service, all with them raising prices across the board. their digital box is the size of a VCR, has no hi-fi outputs (not that it matters, most of the channels are still analog), was designed 4 years ago, and the SLOW ASS interface is worse than my grandma's WebTV.

    Crap. I just needed to rant about how much they sucked. Hopefully Comcast can improve the service a little. Personally I'll be happy if they can go for 6 months without changing their name. Since I subscribed, I had MediaOne for about 3 months, my cable was called MediaOne RoadRunner. Then it was AT&T Broadband, with AT&T RoadRunner for internet. Then the Internet was CALLED AT&T@Home, even though it was really the AT&T Broadband Internet network. Now it's called AT&TBI.
  • AOL, owner of CNN/Money, also lost out in its attempt to buy back AT&T's 25.5 percent stake in its Time Warner Entertainment unit, which includes Warner Brothers studios, HBO and its cable operations. That stake will become part of AT&T Comcast...

    The largest cable company in the US owns 25% of the second largest cable company in the US.

    Will Comcast seriously compete with Warner when it may be in their financial interest not to?

    Choice in the market is good, unless they decide it's better for us to have no choice.
  • In my area, here in central Iowa (Ames), Mediacom bought AT&T Digital Cable and Broadband, and in many other places around here. What's confusing me is did Mediacom buy out all of AT&T's digital services or just in the midwest? With stories like these, I get confused. I assume the buy-out was semi-local, but how will this affect Mediacom Broadband, formerly AT&T Broadband?

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard

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