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Businesses The Internet Communications

AT&T Offering Merger Concessions 98

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the speeding-things-along dept.
TheFarmerInTheDell writes that AT&T is offering concessions to make their merger with SBC happen as fast as possible. From the article: "AT&T filed a letter of commitment with the [Federal Communications Commission] Thursday night that adds a number of new conditions to the deal, including a promise to observe 'network neutrality' principles, an offer of affordable stand-alone digital subscriber line service and divestment of some wireless spectrum."
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AT&T Offering Merger Concessions

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    I for one won't be taking part in this merger
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      We're all taking part in this merger. In the short time since divestiture, the Bells, MCI, Sprint and the like, have gone from an incredibly profitable business model, to one far less stable. The irony of divestiture is that local phone service still has almost no competition, but the threat to the Bells comes from new communications that were not very formidable back then. Cable, which now shares the 'mother' moniker in most places in the US, stands to be affected most by a strong Bell presence. Hopefu
  • by DraconPern (521756) <draconpern AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday December 29, 2006 @06:41AM (#17397044) Homepage

    affordable stand-alone digital subscriber line service
    * pricing only valid for the first three month of contract.
    • I got SBC DSL before they merged. My one year $15/month contract expired and AT&T hiked my rate to $50/month. I called and told them I wanted the same deal for another year, they quibbled a bit and finally agreed a a lifetime price of $20/month. Contract pricing screws the people who don't bother making a call.
    • My experience is just the opposite...

      We signed up for RoadRunner ~7 years ago and have been paying $45/mo the whole time. Time-Warner NEVER lowered the price until SBC/ATT got enough DSL coverage to scare them. After that, they went to the $29/mo (first few months only) pricing scheme (which they currently still have) and ever since have been running a crap-load of ads constantly telling how slow DSL is and how much faster RoadRunner is.

      Well, IT AIN'T TRUE! RoadRunner would drop connection atleast twice p
      • by cliffro (964798)
        I'd like to add my .02 to this.

        I've had both AT&T/SBC DSL and RoadRunner, First off RR here is as fast if not faster than the advertised speeds. i could upload and download at the same time without either slowing the other down.

        The DSL i have currently(price of $24 month to month for the 3mbit one is why im using it)if i am downloading and start an upload the speed on my download drops atleast a 100k if i upload at max.

        I live in a city of about 30k people so the "sharing" aspect of cable doesnt appear t
  • But (Score:5, Informative)

    by JustOK (667959) on Friday December 29, 2006 @06:42AM (#17397048) Journal
    TechDirt is pointing out that
    The wording is a little tricky, but while they agree not to remove network neutrality from their standard network, hidden in the middle of a later paragraph is this sentence: "This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth's Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service."
    and
    AT&T promises not to violate network neutrality on a network they never intended to use that way, and carves out permission to use it on their new network, where they had planned all along to set up additional tollbooths.

    Yay, AT&T!
    • by pcx (72024)
      Yup. Network neutrality was never about putting the crimp on "print media" sites like slashdot but all about controlling telephony and video where the REAL money is. What's really funny is that the "toll road" already exists. I have a 1.5 megabit dsl connection which is GREAT for my needs but if I want I can call AT&T right now and 10 minutes later after the operator takes my billing information and punches a few keys on her computer I can get 3 or even 6 megabits without needing to do anything to
      • by rekoil (168689)
        I think you have the concept a bit backwards...the "Net Neutrality" concerns aren't that AT&T will charge the customer more for access to more of the existing pipe; hell, that happens today. The concern is that AT&T will turn around and expect Google, Yahoo, etc. to pay extra for access to your pipe. You might have a 1.5Mbps connection, but if AT&T had its way, they would have the right to rate limit YouTube downloads to a lower rate, say, 500kbps per user, unless Google paid AT&T an extra
        • by pcx (72024)
          Nope I have it exactly right. If Google wants to pump high-def videos to you they're going to have to pay AT&T for that "non-internet" spectrum AT&T is going to reserve for their own IP-TV offerings. If google won't pay then, if you as an individual want high-def videos from google you're going to have to shell out for a very high-priced bandwidth tier. So either google pays to use at&t's ip-tv bandwidth or you pay (out the wazoo) for the 10-20 megabit bandwidth you'll need to get high-def
          • by afidel (530433)
            1080i MPEG4 streams only take ~9Mbit/s. I can get 6Mbit/s from my cable provider today for $65/month. I would expect 9Mbit/s for the same price in the next year or two, and that to be the base rate in another couple years as cable, WiMax and FIOS compete. The problem for those who want to lock content in is that there are so many technologies wanting to provide you with bandwidth that eventually you will have more than enough bandwidth to do whatever you need. Artificial speed limits imposed by Tier-1 ISP's
      • According to this article http://www.macworld.com/news/2006/12/29/att/index. php [macworld.com], they are only agreeing to network-neutrality for two years.

        To me, this means, they agree to network-neutrality until they can build out enough bandwidth and there is more of a demand for video over the internet, then it's out the window.

        Maybe they should have to split apart once their concessions end?

    • by nuzak (959558)
      Yay, my ass. Without a consent decree, their promises mean absolute jack. Even with one, I trust their "promises" about as far as I can throw the downtown SBC building.

      Divest first. Set up a binding agreement first. Then we talk.
    • Not just with the IPTV loophole, but on the commissioners too. Adelstein said: "the Commission takes a long-awaited and momentous step in this Order by requiring the applicants to maintain neutral network and neutral routing in the provision of their wireline broadband Internet access service. This provision was critical for my support of this merger and will serve as a "5th principle," ensuring that the combined company does not privilege, degrade, or prioritize the traffic of Internet content, application
  • SBC != BellSouth (Score:4, Informative)

    by plaiddragon (20154) on Friday December 29, 2006 @06:44AM (#17397052)
    SBC already merged with AT&T. It is this AT&T that is now offering concessions to get the merger with BellSouth to go through.

    • by Umbral Blot (737704) on Friday December 29, 2006 @07:20AM (#17397154) Homepage
      One network to rule them all, One network to find them,
      One network to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        One network to rule them all, One network to find them,
        One network to bring them all and in the darkness bind them


        In the land of San Francisco, where the network hubs lie.
        • One network to rule them all, One network to find them,
          One network to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

          In the land of San Francisco, where the network hubs lie.


          There they shall be like a hawk,
          and make the peoples die.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by uhlume (597871)
        ...

        Would that be a Tolkien-ring network?
    • Actually, they did not "merge". SBC Bought AT&T outright, and, one could argue, for the brand only.

      While AT&T may be reviled among geeks, it is one of the most recognized, and therefore, trusted brands around.
      • Indeed, I had no love for AT&T, but I was pleased to hear that the old "T" stock ticker was coming back. It just left a little tear in my eye for the olden days when I wasn't born yet. ~

        If standalone DSL means I can drop my home telephone service without having to switch to Suddenlink's crappy cable internet service, I'm all for it. (The standalone DSL, not necessarily the merger with BellSouth.)
        • I use AT&T (SBC) DSL, and it works great. Never have any problems, price is right, and everything loads fast. I'd recommend it.
          • That's what I have now, and I agree. My problems are:

            A) They track every site you and I visit and sell the information to the feds.

            B) I have to pay them for telephone service for the privilege of buying their DSL.

            If I lived two miles over and had Time Warner for cable service, I'd switch in a minute. But we had Cox (now Suddenlink) and the service was awful. SBC DSL is the best I can get.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ffejie (779512)
        They actually bought them for the backbone and the services that come with it. SBC had no internet backbone previous to the SBC acquisition and as a result was using Sprint (in many cases) for transport to the internet. This is pricey, especially with all those DSL users. Classic AT&T has a great managed internet service for companies, very profitable VPN services and a ton of business VoIP customers. Once SBC bought AT&T, they could use their backbone and become a legitimate Tier 1 Provider -- and
        • The rest of BellSouth isn't that valuable to the new AT&T.
          Except they pretty clearly want to be an ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier) nationwide, like they nearly were before. I would be shocked if Qwest remained independant for long, and after that, I think they'll buy the non-wireless portions of Verizon (since the own Cingular, they probably can't buy Verizon Wireless). That will give them all of the old American Bell area back, plus the old GTE areas.
          • by ffejie (779512)
            I would be shocked if Qwest remained independant for long, and after that, I think they'll buy the non-wireless portions of Verizon

            Not so sure about this. I would expect Verizon to hang on to their landline and ILEC status in most areas. Additionally, I will be floored if anyone makes a bid for Qwest or any of their landlines. Unfortunately for those in the Qwest service area, it's looking like those rural areas are no longer profitable for the big companies. It doesn't mean some small company won't come to
  • According to TechDirt [techdirt.com], the concessions might be just smoke and mirrors, at least in part. They've carved out exceptions to their agreement to keep network neutrality ("This commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth's Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service") and possibly some limitations on how useful the "affordable stand-alone digital subscriber line service" is.
  • by allscan (1030606) on Friday December 29, 2006 @07:43AM (#17397250)
    Wow, and to think the Antitrust suit from the 70's against AT&T was supposed to break up the monopoly. Now they are coming back strong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_break_up_of_AT%26 T [wikipedia.org].
    • Precisely, They are up to their old tricks once again.
    • by silentounce (1004459) on Friday December 29, 2006 @09:13AM (#17397776) Homepage
      Maybe that industry "wants" to be a monopoly. You can't turn a pig into a chicken by gluing feathers on him, eventually they'll fall off. By the way, antitrust [wikipedia.org] laws are not intended to break up monopolies. They are there to deter and punish only certain anti-competitive actions. The laws were put into place for mostly political reasons. Many economists are against them.
       
      Monopolies or oligopolies aren't all bad in some industries, sometimes they are the most efficient market structure. I'm not saying that the telecom industry is one of these, but there is a reason that after several breakups that they just coming back together. The same thing has happened in the airline industry. Any industry that demands a very large infrastructure will always lean toward a non-competetive market structure because the "cost to play" is so high.
      • by arclyte (961404) on Friday December 29, 2006 @10:03AM (#17398232)
        I call bullshit on this one.

        It's not the "industry" that wants a monopoly, it's the management of this industry. Industry itself has no self-organized will to monopolize. Monopolies are inherently anti-competetive. The reason Ma Bell was broken up in the first place was to protect consumers. It is inherently in the best interest of these companies to raise the "cost to play" once they've formed a monopoly in order to keep small players out and thus kill off competition. Once you're the only provider, you can afford to pay whatever outrageous fees are needed because consumers have no choice but to pay you for service. Look what happened when the government recently removed the Universal Service Fund fee and the big telcos moved to fill that gap to help pay off their taxes. And they're still getting away with "tax recovery" fees, passing on their social responsibility to their customers in order to bolster their bottom line. Can I get a raise of hands here on how many people find today's cable or telco companies (land-line or cell) doing all they can to respond to market pressure and consumer demand instead of just filling their own pockets?

        But hey, if you want to go back to renting phones, be my guest...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pauljlucas (529435)

          Can I get a raise of hands here on how many people find today's cable or telco companies (land-line or cell) doing all they can to respond to market pressure and consumer demand instead of just filling their own pockets?

          Everything else aside, the old Bell Telephone network was the best in the world. Because the old AT&T was a monopoly, they could afford to engineer things right. They didn't have to worry about pesky things like cost-cutting or meeting next quarter's financial goals. Today's land-

          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            When older equipment starts getting replaced, expect the quality of land-line service to decline.

            Are you suggesting that we are still using Ma Bell-era switches? Because I doubt that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by pauljlucas (529435)
              Are you suggesting that we are still using Ma Bell-era switches? Because I doubt that.

              There are lots of 1A-ESS and 5ESS switches still in operation. Lots. Additionally, AT&T continued to manufacturer switches for many years after the break-up and sold them to the baby bells. I know. I worked for AT&T at the time.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by drinkypoo (153816)
                There are lots of 1A-ESS and 5ESS switches still in operation. Lots. Additionally, AT&T continued to manufacturer switches for many years after the break-up and sold them to the baby bells. I know. I worked for AT&T at the time.

                Well, that does make sense. And the 5ESS does predate the end of the breakup of ATT by two years, so I guess that works. I sit corrected.

      • by Bryansix (761547) on Friday December 29, 2006 @11:06AM (#17398886) Homepage
        Right. And this is why the people (Read: Government) should own the lines themselves and only allow telecoms to run services on them. If you think that is a bad idea then you have to go the regulation route and basically force the telecoms to get their grubby hands off the lines they "Own" (Read: The taxpayers paid for most of those lines) and to let any service provider into any region. This way while one player in the market may own the infrastructure, it is not of benefit to them because they are forced to offer that infrastructure at cost to the competition. Will the Telecoms have a fit at hearing these plans? Yes. But seriously who cares. This is for the good of the country and once again it was the people of this country who subsidized most of those lines in the first place. We should get to use them how we like.
        • by ari wins (1016630)
          https://www.freepress.net/news/19487 [freepress.net]

          In wake of their recent lobbying here in Michigan to get a cheap entrance into video and cable services, your idea seems downright logical. I mean, what's good for the goose, right?

          Not mentioned in the linked article is the fact that they also want the regulations removed because it will allow them to pick and choose the areas in a community that they'd like to serve, rather than having to server the entire community, rural and otherwise.
      • by jafac (1449)
        but there is a reason that after several breakups that they just coming back together.

        Legalized bribery of politicians?
        Selective enforcement?
      • by hxnwix (652290)
        Shenanigans.

        Market players desire to amalgamate does not imply that amlgamation benefits the consumer. High barriers to entry are also beside the point: the players in question have already entered the market.

        I posit that AT&T finds it their fudiciary duty to monopolize because it is profitable - for them.

        Also, it's darling how you refuse to take responsibility for your own arguments. Oh, how it warms the cockles of my heart.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        there is a reason that after several breakups that they just coming back together.

        Because they can?

        It's not like market forces broke-up AT&T. It was the federal government. Now, it's the federal government giving them a pass, and allowing unlimited mergers.

        If GM could buy-up Ford and Chrysler, you can bet they'd jump at the chance... Not because there's any good reason for a monopoly, but because getting rid of your competitors is always profitable.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by OffbeatAdam (960706)
      I can hardly attribute the recent merger and conglomeration of AT&T as a bad thing. I see it like this: 60 years ago as our country was coming out of a war that pushed technology to advance at the rate it is currently moving at today, AT&T stepped up with Bell Labs to convert that push into a very large, very succesful invention push that brought this country far ahead of our overseas brethren in terms of accomplishment and overall technological capability. If not for AT&T and its Bell Labs, we
      • Oh, Adam, where do I begin?

        I can hardly attribute the recent merger and conglomeration of AT&T as a bad thing. I see it like this: 60 years ago as our country was coming out of a war that pushed technology to advance at the rate it is currently moving at today, AT&T stepped up with Bell Labs to convert that push into a very large, very succesful invention push that brought this country far ahead of our overseas brethren in terms of accomplishment and overall technological capability. If not for AT

    • SBC purchased AT&T and then SBC changed its name to AT&T. So its not Ma Bell buying back all its children. Its SBC the strongest child who bought Ma Bell and is now trying to buy up its siblings.

      Ma Bell as everyone remembers it was put in a nursing home awhile back. It's really SBC running the show now.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT&T [wikipedia.org]
      • by afidel (530433)
        While SBC might have been the purchasing party on paper I can guarantee you that internal politics meant the merger was really controlled by the AT&T side of the fence. This was bad for me at the time as our great SBC rep was essentially pushed out.
    • by PDMongo (225918)
      AT&T is certainly acting like a monopoly. As an AT&T customer I've seen my rates slowly creeping up since the original merger, their customer service in the form of that automated attendant is an insult to anyone that ever tried to use it (say 'operator' and watch it hang up on you right after telling you it will connect you to someone that can help...) and their rates are irrelevant as they seem to be able to charge whatever other "additional service fees" they feel like. Heck, they even get to c
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday December 29, 2006 @08:01AM (#17397314)
    including a promise to observe 'network neutrality' principles,

    That's not a concession - that's an attempt to head off binding legislation with a 'promise' that is easily broken once the merger is past the point of no return. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mgbastard (612419)
      FTA:

      A greater commitment to network neutrality, or nondiscrimination involving Internet traffic. AT&T said it would "maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service" for two years.

      Two years? Hah. That's so paltry, we should all feel insulted. They probably wouldn't even be able to effect the major technology change on their network to disrupt neutrality for that long anyway. Might as well promise according to plan. That promise should be perpetual and

  • AT&T already merged with SBC, now SBC Management controls AT&T and they want to merge with BellSouth.

    I know, confusing.... but wait till AT&T merges with the Borg.
  • Wait a sec (Score:1, Informative)

    by techpawn (969834)
    --A greater commitment to network neutrality, or nondiscrimination involving Internet traffic. AT&T said it would "maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service" for two years.
    So in 2009 they can screw with network neutrality again?
  • by trianglman (1024223) on Friday December 29, 2006 @08:31AM (#17397456) Journal
    A two year commitment to net neutrality is just a bunch of hot air, if consumer advocacy groups accept something like this they have obviously been drinking the kool-aid. Net neutrality to be reviewed in two years and would need to be revoked would be a concession, this needing to be reinforced two years from now is nothing.

    Not to mention the other bs in this agreement:
    $20 DSL for consumers whether they sign up for other services or not - when you are an effective monopoly in the area, does it matter if signing up for other services is required?
    Repatriate 3,000 outsourced jobs - when you are dropping 10,000 jobs, 3,000 is a drop in the bucket.
    And, going back to the net neutrality clause, 'AT&T said it would "maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service"' - sounds to me like they are trying to leave all sorts of wiggle room here...
  • Which is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PingSpike (947548) on Friday December 29, 2006 @08:51AM (#17397598)
    ...including a promise to observe 'network neutrality' principles...
    But I thought network neutrality was bad for consumers last time we asked the telcos?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MECC (8478) *
      It is. It'll make you sterile, cause your hair to fall out, your car to quite working, give you AIDS, your pants will hike up to your shins, your socks won't match, you'll get bad breath, and your watch will quit. I know this because I saw it on TV.

    • it's whatever it takes to get you hippies to give away control of the internet [weownthenet.org]. net neutrality supports terrorism and hillary clinton. and teen pregnancy.
  • The Net Neutrality concession is good news, but there's other interesting news.

    According to the article:

    To "assign and/or transfer to an unaffiliated third party" all of its 2.5 GHZ spectrum currently licensed to BellSouth within one year of the merger closing date.

    A bit of trivia: according to the FCC's license database [fcc.gov], BellSouth owns more than 60 channels useful for WiMAX [wimaxforum.org], 40 of them at 2.5 GHz. The article implies that BellSouth would retain the 2.3 GHz spectrum they have (about 20 licenses). (AT&T

  • by TheWoozle (984500) on Friday December 29, 2006 @09:13AM (#17397780)
    ...c'mon baby!

    It sounds like the FCC needs to invoke the "no glove/no love" rule.
  • So AT&T saying they won't include their IPTV service in this network neutrality clause is a good thing. How can an ISP hope to give you reliable TV service over the internet if they arn't allowed to use Quality of Service to prioritize that traffic. Their backbone isn't crowded, so QoS doesn't matter there, its first in first out. The only place QoS (non-net-neutrality?) has any effect is on a congested link... like, I dunno, your DSL circuit?

    Without QoS on your IPTV service, your 15 y/o daughter
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Net neutrality and QoS are distinct concepts. QoS = prioritize traffic based on how important it is to get through quickly/reliably/? (however we need to discuss what these priorities are - the providers should not be left to decide this on their own) Net neutrality says that the provider cannot discriminate traffic based on its source (or destination?); the telcos want to give priority to traffic that profits them in preference to others (e.g., telco TV gets priority over Google TV unless Google pays the p
      • by acil (916155)
        Net Neutrality is a broad concept that has not been specifically defined. However, QoS and net neutrality go hand in hand. In order to give poor service to one customer or better service to another, you need a mechanism to differentiate and prioritize that traffic. Access lists and policy based routing are other methods, but niether method is as versatile as QoS.

        The idea of QoS and being able to give specific traffic special treatment is, by itself, a wonderfull idea and opens a doorway to services and te
    • by rekoil (168689)
      That's about the *only* place where I can see AT&T wanting the ability to prioritize their traffic. But there's nothing stopping them from extending the concept from prioritizing their own IPTV traffic to taking money from other concent operators to have their traffic prioritized, or even have access to the all of the customer's pipe. The real-world scenario here could be something like AT&T not allowing a single site to send traffic at the customer's full IP line rate unless they pay an extra fee t
    • Unfortunately, IPTV is being used to discriminate already. There are many complaints of IPTV service being provided only to wealthy neighbourhoods, citing cost barriers to entry for the service in poorer, outlying neighbourhoods. So, now all I have to do is buy IPTV, and the side-effect is that my other 'net traffic is prioritized ahead of that guy who not only can't afford IPTV, but doesn't even have it available for him.

      IPTV is clearly a loophole to avoid true 'net-neutrality.

      Read the earlier discussi

      • by acil (916155)
        Rolling out the product initially to "wealthy neighborhoods" makes perfect sense. It doesn't make any sense to roll fiber to everyones house at once, before offering the service to a few pilot areas. Also, as it is a somewhat expensive service, initially deploying it in upper class neighborhoods gives a bigger likelyhood of more subscribers.

        When they prioritize your IPTV traffic, thats exactly what they do, prioritize your TV traffic. Your regular 'net traffic will be treated just the same as every oth
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      QoS allows you to guarantee that specific traffic will get a certain amount of bandwidth (provided you have it to give.) That's nice, but it's not the only thing we're talking about here. QoS is just one method of fair queuing. I think what we're more worried about is that ALL traffic whose publishers have not paid your ISP will be bundled down into one low-speed connection, which is not about QoS but about actual router traffic limiting.
      • by acil (916155)
        You're still talking about prioritizing, which is QoS. The other forms of queueing, outside of policy based routing, cannot differentiate traffic based on the source in order to give them less priority.

        The problem people are worried about (read: AT&T has never implemented anything of the sort. AT&T's stance towards the internet is to be as seemless and invisible to the customer as possible) is that someone will block traffic and request a payment. This would undoubtedly cause a serious drop
    • by hxnwix (652290)
      'AT&T said it would "maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service"'

      Note that AT&T said that they would only provide for net neutrality on the local loop (and only for 40 months). Net nuetrality is always a good thing on the backbone. It's a very important thing there, in fact. Forget your Britney Spears albums for a moment, OK? We're talking about whether you will have to pay AT&T when you want to send a packet to Blizzard's servers on L3's
  • Seriously, with all the mergers in the telecom world what was the point of breaking up Ma Bell in the first place? If this is allowed to continue in a few more years we're going to be right back at square 1 again.
    • by acil (916155)
      The difference being that the AT&T companies are "silo'd" so that they can only interact with each other the same as any other company can. While they are all under the same roof, this actually impedes the effeciency of the company because they have to have seperate databases and deal with seperate companies.

      While a Comcast phone monkey can take a call from a customer and at the same time schedule a technician dispatch to troubleshoot the problem, AT&T cannot. When an AT&T phone monkey gets
  • Observing network neutrality for 3 1/4 years is not a concession it's just an inconvenience, after the time is up they can start building the internet toll road they have been dreaming of for years.

    Politicians always agree to these dumb time limits without thinking long term. The internet will be around for a hell of a lot longer than 40 months and they should understand that - the telcos sure as hell do.
  • AT&T nee SBC nee Ameritech nee Illinois Bell is - the last time I looked - paying more than one million dollars a day in fines. I guess it's just the price of doing businesses.

    AT&T - service so bad they've rebranded the company three times (and counting).

  • Ask the GAIM developers how much fun they've had with the IM protocol that AOL was forced to open. "Oh, you want to use new features? yeah, we're not opening _that_ protocol"
  • Remember folks, this is not the AT&T of old we're talking about, this is SBC, the Southern Bastards Club, arguably the most abusive the RBOCs. Remember Edward J. Whitacre's comments regarding network neutrality:

    "Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using," he said,

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead

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