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The Almighty Buck

FCC Approves AT&T Merger with MediaOne 89

Tei'ehm Teuw writes "From an article on CNN - The Federal Communications Commission Monday approved AT&T Corp.'s proposed $54 billion bid to buy cable television company MediaOne Group Inc. This will pave the road for servises like Roadrunner to be tenatively available in 30 percent of the US market. The FCC denied AT&T's position that the 30 percent ownership rule did not apply to its proposed merger with MediaOne and is forcing them to reduce the overall cable assets across the new empire. This is both good and bad, good because broadband access is more widespread, but bat because the monopoly of old seems to be making a comeback. " It seems that the FCC is requiring AT&T to give up MediaOne's stake in Time Warner, and/or 11.2 million other cable subscribers, so that they control under 30% of the cable market. However, I've seen a lot of these Stop AT&T billboards where I live.
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FCC Approves AT&T Merger with MediaOne

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  • ...is a quote from the late Bill Hicks [billhicks.com], probably the most revolutionary comedian of the 90s... I beleive it's off Rant in E Minor, but I'm not sure. and actually, now that I think about it it's a combination of two different parts..
    "I'm sick of this whole back-slapping our humanity bullshit.. we're a virus with shoes, ladies and gentlemen" .. and later "People suck, that's my contention, I can prove it on a scratch of paper and a pen, gimme a fuckin etch-a-sketch, I'll show my work, the proof, the fact, the factorum.."

    anyway.. check out Bill Hicks. He is brilliant.

  • As I understand it, most monopolies are bad because they keep consumers from having a choice.
    But in the case of cable, there often isn't a choice.
    Right now in my area, I can choose between several DSL providers, bunches of dialups, and one cable company.
    So, even if this company owns only 1% of the cable in the country, it's still my 1% and I still don't have a choice.
    I think the FCC regulations, rather than AT&T, are the real target here.
    The FCC should force every company to show that they have real, reasonable competition in every household.
    (The only way I can see that they could do this is by selling bandwidth to competitiors at a reasonable price.)
  • Actually, several companies here in the US are looking at overbuilding cable systems in major metro areas. Some cities (SF for example) laying empty conduit in when they rebuild streets to sell to whomever (cable or phone) later. The places where you are going to see monpoly problems are in outer suburban/ exurban areas where the number of houses per starnd mile is low and the infrastructure (primarily power/phone polls) may already be strained with the current load. For these areas I agree that mandating reaonable access rates for cable interenet access is a must.

  • I also had nothing but problems with MediaOne/Road Runner. Messed up my bill every single month that I had the service, service outages that (if I somehow managed to get through to tech support) they said weren't their fault, it must be my software, and if it wasn't that then it was my hardware, etc. But, happily, I live in an area where RCN is also available. Now that I've switched, I've had no problems, now I'm a happy camper.

    I'm very happy to support RCN. Both because the service is better (and cheaper), and also because if they grow, there will be a monopoly in fewer places, which should force MediaOne/Road Runner to provide decent service.

  • It is my understaing that they created Unix to run the 5ESS switch. I doubt that it would have ever been "squashed". The 5ESS switch is a very big circuit switched piece of hardware capabled of handling many thousands of phone calls at the same time. IIRC, it was also the first softwarebased switch (no mechanical switching).

    Besides Unix, they also created the transistor (when the Lucent Bell Labs were part of AT&T back in the day) and laser, IIRC. This is a good thing.


  • It's my bet that in 10 years, all there will be is about 5 or 6 diffrent companies who control the world, instead of the few hundred companies who control the world today.

    So much for "competition", welcome to corporate feudalism.

    However, I think that it is important to do something before it gets too out of hand... but then again, I'm just sitting here doing nothing.

  • I also had a look at the web site. I find it curious that the decide to put up a quote by Vinton Cerf. He currently works for MCI (AT&T main competitor) and is defianly biased against AT&T. I wouldn't expect him to say anything nice about AT&T, so I question their motives in posting it. Is their position so weak? The link is here. [stopatt.com] I wouldn't be surprised it some local bell companies or ISP's afraid of competition are behind this web site. With that quote I really can't give them any credibility.


  • You don't have to get AT&T wireless. There are a ton of wireless provider out there. Hell, you don't even have to get their cable. Get a DSS system. Costs less than cable too (I did the math for me and it is cheaper I just live in an apt and can't get it). Regular phone, well, you will still have the LEC for that and any LD provider of your choice. This is about giving you options. Something that you really don't have now. That stop att site is trying to prevent you from chosing. It is not 1 provider being forced down your throat like you seem to think it is.


  • In late 1968/69 AT&T was shaken up by the failure of Multics.

    What type of crack are you smoking???

    Check the ,a href="http://www.multicians.org/multics.html">Mult ics site:
    Multics started in 1965 and 'The Book' (The Multics System: an Examination of its Structure) announced the 1968 state-of-Multics. MIT started providing Multics timesharing service to users in Fall, 1969. Multics got the first B2 rating (the highest security rating ever given an OS) in 8/85 and for years was the only B2 rated OS.

    The major history of Multics doesn't begin until 69 and you say it had *failed* by then? Its first system wasn't even fully up! I suppose the 100++ huge commerical, government and military Multics facilities around the world, that came later are all irrelevant. In fact, all the major milestones and innovations in Multics are irrelevant.

    Listen, bub, *you* may have been aborted before you were born, but Multics wasn't! ;->

    True, Multics was over budget and behind schedule in 68/69, and there was talk of cancelling it. But if it had failed back then, you and I would never have heard of it.
  • When it comes to wireless, I am definitely wary or Verizon. But there's PCS and ATT for now to offer competition. Even if Sprint merges with WCOM, that's three major provider choices.

    So ATT will own a hunk of cable- so what? TW-AOL will own another big chunk. As another poster pointed out, that's still only 60% of the national coverage- plenty of room for other cable providers

    There's a standard just agreed upon to allow home networking over powerlines. Assume this technology will be developed to the point where nation/worldwide IP traffic will work as well.

    And DSL is here, and getting faster, and will provide voice (VoDSL). So as I see it, consumers will be able to get their internet, cable, phone, etc service over either:
    1. Cable lines
    2. Phone lines
    3. Wireless/Satellite
    4. Power lines

    Doesn't sound like a monopoly situation to me. And as seen with MS, the Fed Gov't, while certainly clueless sometimes, will not allow one company to dominate so many delivery systems completely. Plus, who would WANT to own all that infrastructure- what a nightmare for upkeep.

    The only concern I have is rates and providers. Likely, it'll be cheaper to get your phone, net, and TV access through one provider, but that's a single point of failure. Yikes! At least when my cable goes out, my DSL connection still works, or at least my phone does so I can call my cable provider and get them moving.
    If all was provided by one company, man, I'd be raging when the next hurricane completely kills my stimuli. Time to break out Scrabble!

  • I don't know if you work for AT&T or what

    I don't have any connection to AT&T. This kind of ad hom is not appropriate in a serious discussion. You clearly are "questioning my motives," or you wouldn't have brought it up.

    I consider AT&T neither an aggressor nor a victim. They're simply working to make money like anyone else. I'm more interested in the broader point, which is that the reason the industry is monopolized in the first place is that the government made it that way. AT&T lobbied to have it that way early in the twenties, to avoid competition from upstart competitors. As a result, we haven't had a truly free market in local service since them.

    In light of that, I'm neither defending AT&T nor attacking local telcos. I'm attacking the regulatory regime that gave both the local monopolies and AT&T the power they have in the first place. My point is that as long as the industry remains monopolized by law, no amount of regulation is going to bring back effective competition. It is precisely your "existing regulations" that I'm objecting to. I don't really care about the specific legalisms surrounding this particular issue, because I don't consider them too important. Without a free market in telco service, service is going to suck. Limiting how much of the market a particular company can have will not improve customer service or save consumers money.
  • You are right. In the near future, we will have bar codes tatooed across our face in order to identify us. We will wear color-coded jump suits in order to identify our profession. We will live in gray, block style apartment buildings each with identical floor patterns. We will have two way "media devices" in each room which will be required to be on constantly. Firearms, tobacco, alcohol, non-approved food and beverages, and pointy objects will be outlawed. Marriage will be illegal, rather, we will be assigned a genetically matched breeding partner for scheduled population maitenance. The world will be controlled by a handful of Corporate Overlords who will determine where people will live, what they will eat and what jobs they will perform that will benefit the greater good of society. When a person no longer contributes to The Bottom Line, they will be jettisoned into space or be forced to run on a treadmill to generate electricity until their heart gives out.

    This was planned out several decades ago. It was not to be implemented until 2040, but because of Slashdot, its' readers and Linux, the plan will be escalated and put in place in the next 10 years.

    The only way to stop this madness is for everyone to quit posting to Slashdot and load Windows.

    Hurry, you are our last hope.
  • Wired service is already dead, it just doesn't know it yet. Your new high speed data connection to the internet, voice telephone network, cable television, video on demand, etc. will be delivered by wireless (yes, radio,) because the cost of installing and maintaining a wired network is extremely expensive, and the cost for wireless delivery keeps dropping... Very, very soon, wireless will be cheaper than wired and all the RBOCs and CATV conglomerates will be wondering what hit them. So who cares what AT&T or any of the RBOCs do?
    there are 3 kinds of people:
    * those who can count
  • Man, Broadband was supposed to promote competition. Now AT&T feels threatened so they are buying up the competition. This reminds me of a song from The Who, "We Won't Get Fooled Again" AT&T wants MediaOne to cut ties with Road Runner. I know. I am a Media One customer. I informed Media One if this goes through I will look for another provider. I also sent RCN a email suggesting that that offer service in my area since I do not wish to send AT&T my money.
  • NYNEX (Northeast) merged with Bell Atlantic (Mid-Atlantic States), then tried to merge with BellSouth.

    Hell, even before that, New England Telephone (New England) merged with NYNEX (New York and other sundries). You can still see the places on the BA vans where NYNEX and sometimes even New England Telephone were painted on them.

  • This kind of ad hom is not appropriate in a serious discussion. You clearly are "questioning my motives"...

    You're right. That was sophistry and I'm sorry. Years of dealing with people who think complex answers have simple solutions has left me cynical, for which I'm not sorry.

    I don't really care about the specific legalisms surrounding this particular issue, because I don't consider them too important.

    The primary benefit of ideologies based on philosophy is usually gleaned from those aspects of the ideology which are based on the roots of said philosophy. Marx, Smith, and any thinker of cultural impact througout history has shown keen insight into the workings of his existing society, but each thinker's conclusions about future action, and the ideologies those conclusions breed, consistently fail to have measurable value in their application. This is especially true in cases where an ideology becomes increasingly simplified over time as its adherent push ever more tightly for a pure implememtation of their beliefs into the political realm. So goes the purist argument for free markets.

    I don't disagree necessarily with your argument about monopolies. After all, look at the pitching in Major League Baseball this year ;) What I disagree with is the application of that argument to this particular situation: by bringing up the specifics of the law, I was pointing out that the situation is more complex than the knee-jerk "deregulation in the name of capital" line we're fed in high school economics.

    The law is: AT&T gives up it's monopoly in one area, and then it can break another monopoly in the area of local cable. These two monopolies continue to exist because AT&T has consistently played games with the legislation (in the courts, you see). They open up their end, they can break into the local cable markets, and the regulation can go away because there'll be no need for it.

    Of course, that's probably too simple too, isn't it?

  • USWest bought Continental Cablevision, turned it into USWest Media Group, and spun it off a few years later into MediaOne.
  • Without remotes and receivers, mine's about $38 in MN. Without tax and franchise fee (eww!) it's about $31. Where the heck do you live?!
  • The wosrt part of this is that Excite@Home, of which (correct me if I'm wrong) AT&T is a majority holder, has a monopoly on the ISP as well. It's as if AOL owned you phone line and was the only ISP to connect to. Sound scary? Sure.

    The anti-cable monopoly fight has been going on for a while. I can have two cable TV providers where I live - AT&T (formerly TCI) and Ameritech. There's only one cable internet ISP, as well as Ameritech is getting out of the business.

    Just think: in a little bit,

    • Your TV will come from AT&T
    • Your Internet will come from AT&T
    • Your wireless will come from AT&T
    • Your regular phone service will come from AT&T through the cable system.
    Does a monopoly of cable sound like a good idea now? NO!

  • Yet again it's time to plug Lawrence Lessig's book "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace".

    I've heard this guy speak at HP Labs. Well, he didn't really speak, just beamed Krell rays at us. Probably the smartest person in the room, and that's one very smart roomful of people - He even made me believe that there could be a purpose in having lawyers (although imagine what he might have been as a coder, if he'd not been lured by The Dark Side 8-) )

    Back in the beginning, the Net was geeks piping IP traffic to each other. The technology just moved packets, it didn't care what they were, so that's how the "laws" and netiquette operated. Now we have A-T-W and AT&T trying to turn it into glorifed cable TV with programmed content -- If you liked the way it was, then better understand what's going on today.

    Amazon [amazon.co.uk] have the book. Definitely read this one.

  • That's known as perfect competition.
    The other side is crowded. The dead have nowhere to go.
  • A recent news article describes the FOX network's efforts to overturn the 30% rule. FOX is claiming the 30% rule in a 3 network system (when the rule was adopted) no longer applies with 200 channels.

    If they manage a win, the playing field will change significantly as the big players fight for the majority stake.

  • Then dump TCI and get something else. ISDN, DSL, sattelite, 56k, two cans and string, etc.

    If it is such a bad product and bad company quit dreaming that your municipality will wake up some day and feel the same way you do.

    Vote with your bucks.
  • Thanks for the link. I'd never heard of him, so I figured that it was just some drug/alcohol induced rambling that someone scribbled on the wall. Since I made it my .sig (about a week ago) I've received 2 messages telling me that Bill Hicks wrote it and he's brilliant. So I'll be checking out that link when I get home...

  • by Penguin_99 ( 169189 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2000 @04:17AM (#1023230)
    Unix came out of Bell Labs right?

    Yeah Ken Thompson and Dennis Richie worked for Bell Labs when they created UNIX on an old unused PDP-7. But, because AT&T was involved in an anti-trust lawsuit, they were forbidden from selling UNIX for a profit. In the early 1970's Thompson and Richie put together a paper on their new UNIX operating system and presented it at an operating system conference. Because of that a lot of educational institutions became interested and AT&T agreed to "sell" UNIX (for a modest price) and the source code to academic institutions for their personal use. One of the institutions who was very interested was Berkley and most specifically the Berkley Software Development group (BSD). They added features like TCP/IP networking, a better UFS and others. Then they allowed people to download the source code and use their operating system for free. It really makes you think and raises the questions: If AT&T hadn't been in the middle of that lawsuit at the time UNIX was released, would they have kept it proprietary (in other words protected the source code and sold the operating system)? If they had, what would the open source community be like today and would even be one? Would Linux have ever been developed? And further more would IBM have gone with DOS, as the opeating system for their new PC, and decided to do business with a small unknown company, at the time, Microsoft or would they have gone with AT&T's UNIX (or System V as they called it)? Or, on the oposite side of the spectrum, would AT&T have blown off Thompson and Richie dismissing UNIX as not being worth it and squashing UNIX right away (after all, Thompson and Richie had to beg AT&T/Bell labs to buy them a PDP-11 so they could implement UNIX in C)?
  • Hmph... for those who are interested, in Halifax [halifax.ns.ca], NS, Canada, we have two local phone providers. The interesting thing is that the new one doesn't provide over POTS at all... but coax! That's right... the cable company, Eastlink [eastlink.ca] (who also does our cable modems) are also doing phone services. You keep your existing internal wiring, as well as your phone number. Additionally, there is talk that our phone company, MTT [www.mtt.ca] is going to deliver cable over DSL, and the power company Nova Scotia Power [nspower.ns.ca], has fiber all over the place and is thinking of going into the market too. And, of course, we have three cellphone providers. Very interesting, since we have a very small population. (and relitively good for the end user, since bandwidth is insainly cheap here.) It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.

    We are also taking steps towards banning pesticides and making Scent-Free law. *heavy sigh*

    i've looked at love from both sides now. from win and lose, and still somehow...

  • The municipalities would continue doing things the same way without some sort of prodding from the Feds. These big companies buy and sell congressmen every day, you think they don't have local reps in their pocket?

    Well, sure, this isn't going to be easy. But I think the first step is to recognize that that's the problem. If the system is so corrupt that we can't get genuine deregulation, then further regulation is only going to get perverted by the same forces.

    What is needed I think is a citizen action group aimed specifically at repealing laws that restrict competition in telecom services. Only concerted citizen pressure will work, I think.

    The problem with groups like the "stop AT&T" organization is that they seem to misunderstand the problem. I don't really care if AT&T has 20% or 40% of the cable market, since in each local market there is only one choice. I'd be perfectly happy with a market in which AT&T owns the majority of outlets if most local markets had an alternative. It's the fact that local alternatives are prohibited by law that makes AT&T such a threat. Regulating AT&T's holdings will only allow someone else to monopolize some of those outlets, which is hardly an improvement.
  • I don't know why they aren't, but they don't seem to be. As far as I know, you have only one choice in Minnesota-- US West. I suspect that's the result of regulation, since I can't think of any other reason why they they wouldn't be trying to expand into neighboring markets. I suppose it's possible that some of them are colluding to keep prices up, but that in itself is a function of the fact that they know no new competitors can enter the market.
  • People forget that there is nothing legally wrong with a monopoly in the US. The problem arrises when corporations abuse monopoly power (i.e. Microsoft) and uses it to inhibit competition, fix prices, or drive someone out of business.

    I have still yet to be shown any "proof" that AT&T is moving towards this. Mergers happen on a daily basis and there is always someone crying wolf about Monopolies when big business merges.
  • The US used to be that way, government regulated monopolies, but deregulation in the 90's has lead to some competition, with more coming in the future. With freedom comes risk, is the possibility of lower cable bills and better service greater than the possibility of abuse? Well we'll never know unless we try.
  • AT&T has done more for telecommunications and broadband and cable TV than ANY other company in america. the mediaone merger is excellent and it is sad that AT&T has to get rid of some subscribers, hopefully one of the companies that buy it will cherish the customers as well as AT&T does. AT&T's customer support is world class (excite@home is NOT owned by at&t, so their customer support is not reflective of at&t) and they have brought my town something that no other company could. broadband access, and world class cable tv.

    This stop at&t billboard thing.... Isn't it funny when a big company offer's a killer service that all the local/regional ISP's whine and kick and cry like babies? AT&T is stealing our customers! WAHHHHH! Hey, if you want to offer broadband, you spend millions on the infrastructure! nooo, these isp's want to cry like babies, and put up stop at&t billboards...

    and I bet that GTE is behind it too... AT&T would force GTE to actually upgrade their infrastructure (From the 1950's era equipment and wires in my town to something in the 80's) and GTE could care less about customers...

  • 55% of voting share according to the annual report.
  • MediaOne system-swapped with AT&T Broadband in Chicago about a year ago...ATT got Chicago, and M1 got something else that I can't remember. Think it was in the Miami area.
  • It is my understaing that they created Unix to run the 5ESS switch.

    Actually that is not true. In late 1968/69 AT&T was shaken up by the failure of Multics. So, when Richie and Thompson suggested the idea of an alternative to Multics, Bell Laboratories wanted nothing to do with it. Thompson wrote proposal after proposal to the executives at Bell Laboratories and AT&T asking for a PDP-10 in order to create a new OS. However, every one was rejected. To quote Dennis Richie "[...] we were asking the Labs to spend too much money on too few people with too vague a plan. Moreover, I am quite sure that at that time operating systems were not, for our management, an attractive area in which to support work." Shortly thereafter Thompson created a game called "Space Travel" but the cost about "$75 for CPU time on a big computer" so Thompson dug up a little used PDP-7 and they (Richie, Thompson) ported the game to the PDP-7. Around this time Thompson began working on a file system for the PDP, once they got the file system and assembler running the OS could support itself and then a set of utilities were added, for example copy, print, delete, and edit files, and a shell. After this, Thompson showed the OS to Bell Labs and asked for a PDP-11 to continue development. Bell Labs still was not sure about the whole OS thing and considered turning him down. For some reason, they decided to appease him and get the PDP-11. Richie and Thompson created some text editing tools and various other improvements then released it around AT&T. At that point AT&T saw how widely used the OS was began to realize it's potential. My previous post picks up from here.

    I'm not saying that the merger is a bad thing nor am I saying it's a good thing. I am going to withhold jusgement until I see what happens.
  • This might just be flamebait to some but wouldn't most people rather use AT&T to AOL? I mean stop AT&T from doing what? Battling another monopolistic giant? hmm.... AT&T... Aol-TimeWarner. Hey Taco make a slashpoll!
  • Ahh, yes, that would explain it. Thanks.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • For more info, read Dennis Richie's paper [bell-labs.com] on it.

    Yes UNIX could have been squashed by AT&T very easily.
  • For those of you angry at AT&T, I think you're really pounding sand. As a corporation, AT&T is little more than a money making machine. Investors give such corporations money to make more money. They appoint people to run their corporation and vote on issues to serve their interests in making more money. It's only natural that this entity born of greed should become as powerful and profitable as possible. If you want to direct your anger towards something useful, try writing your legislators. They are ultimately your best offense, as your complaints to bulletin boards and one man boycotts go quite unnoticed.
  • So goes the purist argument for free markets.

    Except that the case for free markets isn't based solely on the theoretical writings of Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, or anyone else. There's a large and growing body of both empirical and theoretical evidence that in most cases markets work and regulations don't.

    The telecom industry is one of the most over-regulated industries around, so its problems can hardly be called failures of the market.

    I agree that the current laws make the current situation more complex. But my point is that the problem is the laws that give AT&T and others monopolies in the first place. That doesn't absolve AT&T of wrongdoing, but I also don't think AT&T is the main problem. The same problems would exist if another company were in the same position.

    These two monopolies continue to exist because AT&T has consistently played games with the legislation (in the courts, you see).

    In other words, the monopolies are created by the government. And therefore the solution is to repeal those laws that created those monopolies.

    They open up their end, they can break into the local cable markets, and the regulation can go away because there'll be no need for it.

    Except that that's never what happens. The courts and regulators are a lousy replacement for market forces. If AT&T played nice, there might be a couple of firms in a given market instead of one, but that still severely limits consumer choice. This is why I don't care about the specifics of the law as it exists now. I object to the fact that there exists laws that determine who is allowed to provide telecom services. I think anyone who meets certain simple requirement should be allowed to string wires to the houses of willing customers, and they should be free to send whatever data they want on them.

    More government regulation moves us in the opposite direction. It might manage to shift the monopolies around, and it might even give consumers some limited choices. But it's not a substitute for a free market in telecom services.
  • I agree. In fact I will give you another example of Monopolies forming. Verizon Wireless. I work for the company. Basically, Verizon is Bell Atlantic Mobile, Air Touch, Vodaphone, Frontier Cellular, and soon GTE. There will be something like 29 million subsribers by the end of the year covering almost every inch of the US. (Hell even some Cell One customers are now Verizon. They just don't know it yet.) Buy outs are occuring all over the place and nobody seems to be noticing.
  • As a loyal Road Runner user, I wish AT&T would have a bigger stake in RR and not have AOL/TW own the whole freakin' thing. It worries me when I start getting emails from AOL that they'll be 'improving' my internet access soon.
  • ... a bit late? I though the dinosaur mating season was spring?
  • by JamesSharman ( 91225 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2000 @03:32AM (#1023248)

    I had a look at the stop AT&T website and it seems a little strange, naturally I can understand the fear of anyone gaining a monopoly over the internet, but the 30% law you guys have in the US (Which seems to be being appropriately enforced in this case) would prevent that. The webs sites also states "And we need your help to keep big cable companies like AT&T from gaining a monopoly over the Internet". This struck me as a little strange, more than one company can't have a monopoly over the same area, obviously I must then assume that the site is against companies having a monopoly over a confined geographic area. Unfortunately, because of the way cable financing works it's almost impossible for this not to happen, large numbers of companies laying different sets of cable to your street is financially prohibitive.

    Instead what is needed is some kind of regulation giving access to the existing cables (at a fair prices) to other companies. One of the most interesting things set to happen here in the UK in the next couple of years is the opening of the local telephone cables, our regulatory authority (OFTEL) is giving anyone access to the actual wires that run to peoples houses. This allows for a decent level of competition without a massive investment in infrastructure.

  • AT&T is not a monopoly as the stopatt.com website says. The stopatt.com site is poorly informed, and their premise for stopping AT&T is purely speculative. Besides the AT&T breakup causing the Baby Bells, AT&T has a history of being a company which promotes innovation and competition. Hey, Unix came out of Bell Labs right?

    Sheepdot: Open Source good, Closed Source baaaaaaad!

  • I don't know about the US, but here in the UK it is impossible to do anything about cable monopolies. Competition is non-existant because it costs way too much to lay cable for any one area to be covered by more than one company. When cable first came here in the '80s the various companies carved up the towns into areas. Since then all the smaller companies were absorbed until there were only 3: Telewest, NTL and Cable and Wireless. A while back NTL bought C-and-W's domestic business, so now there are effectively only 2.
  • A major problem with this is that it costs too much to serve a niche market (Such as Linux users who want to set up their own non-profit servers). Rather than a choice, we get a handful of competitors offering identical services, unless you're a business when you get offered something thats too expensive for most users.
  • How long will it be until the FTC realises the mistake they've made here?

    It's all very depressing. Corporations are just getting bigger and more powerful by the day, and the government in cooperating because corporations, unlike ordinary people, can afford to bribe politicians and officials. But what can we do to stop this? It makes business sense to merge -- usually -- so we can't claim they have ulterior motives. We can't make profit illegal. So what can we do? Suggestions, please!

  • I have had nothing but problems with my Roadrunner. It would be very hard for me to go back to a (now) exceedingly slow modem, but there are still many problems that I have had. I lose connection all the time for brief intervals (30 - 60 seconds approximately) all the time, and I have had numerous problems with billing. There phone based customer service sucks, and all in all I am very annoyed with Mediaone. Unfortunately, they have the cable monopoly in my area. That is what is annoying to me. There are town laws only allowing the one cable provider. This kind of thing is foolish. They enjoy a government regulated monopoly, which allows them to have a crappy product and worse customer service. Does anyone else share these problems? The fact that AT&T is going to have to reduce the Mediaone empire makes me nothing but happy.

  • by SgtPepper ( 5548 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2000 @03:35AM (#1023254)
    We are getting closer and closer to a world where
    a very few companies ( and consequently those that
    run them ) control what we see and what we hear,
    what we read, and what many of the population
    believes. This is what George Orwell wrote in
    1984, except he thought it was the Government.
    What he didn't realize is that Big Brother is
    Big Business. Hell, some would argue that the
    Government itself is run by the Corperations.

    Too bad we're all a bunch of sheep and don't,
    or won't, actually go out and do anything about it.

    Just remember, when you turn on your TV, and it's
    bland telling you how to be a good citizen.

    Just remember, you could have done something about
    it now, before they took over.

    Just remember, when they tell you what god to

    Just remember, you could have stopped it now,
    before the national religion is AOL.

    When the revolution comes, where will you be?
  • The Stop AT&T Campaign sounds very weak. Of course AT&T wants the whole internet. But so do 100,000 other companies as well. Out where I live, its Ameritech who's breaking the laws, as an example.

    Big deal about AT&T, they have to compete with the other monopoly-wanabes and the market will still prevail.

    Mike Roberto (roberto@soul.apk.net [mailto]) -GAIM: MicroBerto

  • I'll be willing to take the infrastructure and paying customers off their hands, if they pay me enough. I'll also drop all the sports channels, CMT, and TNN (except american shooter) and use the leftover bandwidth to stream people high-resolution ads saying why AT&T is the best company EVER. After that, I'll replace all the cable boxes with something running linux, and a transmeta chip, and use that to see exactly what people are watching. I'll sell that information to AT&T too. Man, if i'm not careful, I could be rich, and finally afford that operation to get Red Hat ported to my brain.....

  • I don't know about the situation in Britain, but I know in most US cities the cable monopolies are granted by local governments. You have to ask the city's permission to install cable lines, and once one company has been given that permission, it's awfully hard for a second one to compete.

    As is usually the case, this monopoly is caused by the government. What is needed is a more open system of granting permission to string cables through the ground.
  • Quit complaining and quit giving ATT business. If you have a cable modem, dump it. If you use them for cellular, long distance, whatever dump them.

    The laws and rules are not going to change tommorrow - vote with your bucks.
  • I don't have a lot of bucks. ISDN==$. DSL==$. It's usally faster than 56k. It's just some of the problems that make it frustrating!

  • Too bad we're all a bunch of sheep and don't, or won't, actually go out and do anything about it.
    And so on.

    Its very easy to stand up and shout "This Sucks!" but what, exactly are you proposing people do?


  • I have AT&T cable for my cablemodem, and it sucks. Service conks out for like an hour a day, at least, and we're expected to just sort of grin and bear it. The worst part is, I used to be excited that DSL was coming to my area, but that's going to be AT&T controlled too. Is this latest trend of a giant merger every other day benefitting anyone aside from rich white guys in suits?
  • Back when the telecom act was passed, deregulating all this stuff, all the financial analysts talked about how each major market was going to look the same: two major players and a few smaller ones. Since there's a cap of 30% in this particular market, you can see how two companies (AT&T and Time Warner) could easily share 60% and leave the other 40% to smaller companies.

    The same thing's happening in radio, remember when CBS bought Infinity? they had to divest themselves of a few stations in each market, so now they have like 30-40% in each major market, such as the one here in Boston.

    This has happened/will continue to happen in every unregulated industry and market. While it conforms to the anti-monopoly rules the government has set down, it leaves both the markets and consumers vulnerable to price fixing by the two leaders. Look at Coke/Pepsi. Watch the prices for 12-packs all summer as these two companies take turns, week to week, putting their product on sale.

    I expect something like this to happen between AT&T and Time Warner/AOL. They'll bring cable modems to everyone, then find a price at which they can both make a little money, just low enough that no one else will be able to gain any ground on them.

  • you forgot to add PrimeCo to that list
  • I'm not proposing anything, maybe i'm cynical,
    maybe in the end I don't really care. But I don't
    thing there's alot we /can/ do. Specially not now
    these things should have been stopped years and
    years ago. It's probably too late to really turn
    the tide now. I'd really REALLY like to start
    an old time internet, maybe come up with new
    protocols and reimpliment it. Keep it simple and
    free. But the time of "simple and free" has
    passed i'm sure. People don't want their local
    BBSes or FIDONet any more. People don't mind
    dealing with uncaring ISPs, or ISPs that will
    shut down your account for setting up your
    linux machine so you can log in from work.
    People don't care, and I don't have the money
    to fight AOL-TimeWarner-MediaOne-AT&T-God-Complex-
    Mega-Corp-World that I see coming. What do I
    think we SHOULD do? Protest, go into this world
    kicking and screaming, don't use the internet.
    At least the internet they want us to use. I
    think geeks should start ISG, Internet Service
    GATEWAYS. They don't Provide damnit, WE PROVIDE
    the INTERNET. We just need a place to plug
    ourselves in.

    I'm sorry, that was a rant, and it's not directed
    at you. I guess i'm just disillusioned and scared.
    And maybe a little worried.
  • For those who may not know....

    Verizon == Bell Atlantic Mobile

    for aproximate rvalues :)
  • Hey, as a MediaOne cable and cablemodem subscriber I APPLAUD AT&T for taking them over. Mediaone has the WORST customer service I have ever dealt with! There have been times where I've been on hold for 3 hours to get a person so I could tell them that my cable was out to come fix it.

    Hopefully AT&T can get my Cable modem working faster again too! MediaNONE can't run a data network to save their lives!
  • If I wasn't already posting to this thread, I would rate that as "informative" :-) Thanks for that info, now I have one more thing to self-righteously complain about :->
  • It's the fact that local alternatives are prohibited by law that makes AT&T such a threat. Regulating AT&T's holdings will only allow someone else to monopolize some of those outlets, which is hardly an improvement

    I don't know if you work for AT&T or what, but there's something missing from this: The cable regulation placed on AT&T is conditional. It's tied to them allowing local phone companies access to their lines to compete in the long distance markets. Until these local companies reach a certain level of saturation in a given market, AT&T is blocked from competing in the local service of ANYTHING. AT&T has fought competition in that area tooth and nail, but they want de-regulation in the area they wish to expand into.

    I'm not questioning your motivations, here, I'm just saying: If you watch the yapping jackals on Crossfire or some show blather about this, the pro-AT&T spin-doctor-PR-flak always skirts around the same issue, which thanks to existing regulation can't be seperated from the rest of the argument.

    The truth is, if AT&T were playing along with the legislation IT PAID FOR in the first place, they would have no regulatory problems getting into the local markets as the law stands.

  • It's just been approved?

    That's rather strange, because I had Mediaone for cable and my cable modem, but months ago they started calling it AT&T cable...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Im not particularly sure that Stop AT&T/MI for Open Access is really misinformed, but that they are clearly propagandists. Doesnt it make you confident of the truthfulness of what they are saying when they basically try to avoid telling you who they really are? A friend who works for the cable company south of me confirmed that it is all of those crappy little independant cable companies around michigan [do other states have such rampant, inconsistent entrepreneurial companies?] They of course would run business exactly the same as AT&T does now, but are trying to keep big business away. Dont get me wrong; I do everything I can to support mom-n-pop stores and one-of-a-kind shops and such, but at no time have I ever felt bad for a communications company, nor did I wish the big succesful ones would pick on them less. Ambition in another is bad when your the king. I dont care if ted nugent created a cable company with 67 channels of hunting with ted nugent, and bought out AT&T - those guys are all in it for themselves, and they dont need the support of innocent bystanders to swing it.


    I swear the fact that Im on @home, and that I get free expanded-expanded cable with it has no effect on my opinion at all. Im dissatisfied with the way they operate it, anyway.

  • In "The Running Man," it's the Network that controls everything. From Amazon..."Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) crafted The Running Man early in his career... A bit of a departure from the supernatural horror that is most frequently associated with his work, the novel describes a science fiction dystopia where market capitalism and television game shows have spiraled out of control, and the separation between the haves and the have-nots has been formalized with separate currencies."
  • The solution (in the US, anyway) would be Open Access, an exploding trend in our increasingly deregulated infrastructure market. I am surprised that so many people still buy the 'laying mega-miles of new cable' argument.

    BellAtlantic owns the POTS line into my house, but that doesn't mean they automatically get my long distance business. They get a limited monopoly (more limited all the time) on my local phone service, in exchange for laying and maintaining all that infrastructure, but they are required to provide access to any other long distance carrier. I pay a buck or two to the local telco for 'long distance access' whether my carrier is ATT, Sprint, etc.

    The same thing happens in DSL, which is even more striking. Bell Atlantic owns the wire, but it only gets $8-18 for use of its 'last mile' infrastructure. This is striking because, when you think about it, DSL only applies to the Last Mile. Once you get to any sort of trunkline or ISP, a DSL packet is no different than any other packet.

    Even more striking is electrical power. The electric company owns the wires, but I can quite literally buy my power from anyone who'll sell it to me. Here, it is even more bizarre, because its all an accounting matter... the actual 'electrons' (emf) I use won't come from the guy I 'buy' them from. There are many complicated 'inputs' and interlinks pooled onto the local power grid, and a giant system exists for financially balancing the payments. Often the 'electricity vendor' is just a commodity trader, buying bulk capacity or power, with no infrastructure at all.

    This is *today*. These are the bills I pay every month. There is no reason why cable is any different. they may have a 'granted monopoly' in exchange for laying and maintaining the cable for transmitting television signals, but they don't get an automatic monopoly on internet access -- that's the long distance/local issue again: cable TV and TCP are different services.

    That cable companies are making an argument that has been long defeated in all other similar markets.

    Unfortunately, my local cable provider doesn't provide Internet access at all. I'm not sure a new law could force them to share an 'access' that doesn't even exist. I'm actually *hoping* they get bought out by a larger company. I live in a small, fairly upscale community, full of high-tech businesses (including one of the world's leading cablemodem technology companies), surrounded by communities that all have cable modem service, but it's an island of backwardness... and the DSL sucks.
  • There was an article in the "Housing" section of the Mpls Star Tribune about developers building "wired" subdivisions and *not* giving away the rights of way to cable and telecomms providers, but instead building their own subdivision-based high speed cable and telecomms infrastructure to keep a revenue stream beyond the original property sell-off.

    The article was vague as to whether they saw any economies of scale by linking other subdivisions into a WAN-like structure to further pool the userbase nor did it indicate how they actually got services to the homes (by actually being the cable co or ISP, or just leasing the infrastructure out to an ATT-type monopoly). It also didn't say if they actually overbuilt the infrastructure to allow for competition among providers.

    I did think that it was interesting how they were wising up to the communucations situation for their own gain, and that their gain might actually be consumers' gain (provided there's a geek in there somewhere picking the right providers..)
  • This merger madness has got to slow down. On a related note my ISP, a small independent one got bought by a multinational a few months back, and the personal service the customers used to get has dropped through the floor. Wall street is driving this madness. All the talk of economies of scales ignores a basic fact. Not all customers like their service from a conglomerate. I expect media-one service to drop as a result of this. Although I am in favor of he lowering of access costs as a result, the loss of diversity seems like too high a price.
  • The site claims that after Ma Bell was broken up, there was much more competition and innovation. As everyone knows, it just means you have a local monopoly instead of a national one. That's beside the point. They claim that AT&T wants to create a cable monopoly and stifle innovation. What they fail to realize however, is that AT&T is trying to innovate. Right now at home you've either got DSL or slow dial up. You might have a cable modem. In any case, you have at least two sets of wires, and at most 3 or 4. What AT&T is trying to do is install fiber to the house. Fiber to the house means that you have one line, which handles voice, video, and data (with plenty of fat bandwidth). AT&T is trying to innovate, not stop innovation.

    Sheepdot: Open Source good, Closed Source baaaaaaad!

  • Ditto on the Mediaone-is-erratic problems. I get the lost connections, mail server outages, and times when it is nearly impossible to connect. And ditto on the city mandating their use too.

    I have been able to negotiate the problems by using *nix with Netscape for strictly graphical pages, and lynx for those that support text. This absolutely minimizes the connection problems for the external model cable modem (which is cross-connected into a 10/100 switch; I never know where I will surf from at home).

    If you have the Winbloze-only internal cable modem, you are somewhat hosed.

  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2000 @03:38AM (#1023277)
    I used AT&T for several years for long distance, Internet, and even local toll calls for part of a year. I ended up ditching them because they started sending me bills for services I never had with them like Wireless. The bill was only $50 or $100 and I spent at least 3 hours (no exagerration) trying to get it cleared up. Even after it was supposedly fixed I continued to be billed so I dumped AT&T for another LD company. I swore I'd never do business with AT&T again.

    So now, two years later they are buying MediaOne, my Internet provider. So I'm left with no choice but to pay my hard-earned money to AT&T again (or give up my cablemodem.) This is a good example of how a company like AT&T can work to limit your choices and get away with it.

    BTW, another company that I'm not to happy with is Verizon wireless. I had a PCS phone through PrimeCo for the last year and a half. Recently Verizon bought them--when I received my bill it was much higher than I expected but it didn't list any of the calls that were made so I called them up to ask for an itemized list of the calls. I was told that they no longer provide an itemized list of your calls unless you pay extra. This isn't directly related to the AT&T/M1 story, but I just wanted to express my opinion that Verizon SUCKS!

  • Am I mistaken in thinking that AT&T already owns @Home? Is that why the FCC wants them to back off of the TW/AOL stuff (roadrunner)? (for what it's worth, i was much happier with my @home service than i ever was with my RR service ... but that was also a swich trom a beta tester in a town that had (at best) a few hundred subscribers to a standard user in a town that has several thousand ...) ...

    just a thought ....

    - Left to my own devices, I surely would destroy myself ...

  • I'm genuinely curious here: what is the technical/financial/legal difference between different long-distance phone companies both providing service to the same area and two cable companies doing the same thing? Why is it so impossible to work out a way to share the costs and split the service? Packet-switching makes this easy, surely?

    I Am Not Knowledgeable :-)

  • So what did the breakup of AT&T do good for, if we allow all of the parts to merge back together?

    Um, I don't think that Media One was ever part of Ma Bell. The regional Bells are still separate.

    Besides, the problem with AT&T was always that they were a government-granted monopoly. This has not changed, they have just been split up into a bunch of regional monopolies. What needs to happen is for the local telcos (and cable) to be deregulated and a uniform system developed whereby several firms can lay fiber to any given price. This competition will improve service and lower prices.

    As long as the government discourages or prohibits competition as it does in cable and local telephone service, service will always suck and prices will always be high. We need free markets and competition.
  • Actually they're not misinformed they are just spreading misinformation, this band I suspect is a coalition of the MI ISP's who don't want everyone using AT&T or Ameritech for they're Internet Access.

    Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.

  • Verizon == Bell Atlantic Mobile

    It figures. BA was another company I was thrilled to get away from. Not that BellSouth is any better.

  • The problem is not with mergers or corporations or even the insane concept that big corps live and breath to make money and squash competition.

    The problem is that there is a big media war brewing and the storm clouds are gathering into huge masses on either side of the sky, AT&T with Media One to one side and Time/Warner with AOL on the other. This looms high and large and in the end there will be only one with all other comers being crushed between the two before the dust settles like a pebble between two large rocks.

    When these sort of big wars happen they tend to result in one large corporation ending up in court fighting their way out of a monopoly lawsuit. This is not the prime condition. The big boys ought to realize that between the two megacorps they should split about eighty percent market share and help out a fewer smaller corps to make themselves look good to the feds. This way they still get huge profits, marketshares and secure places in the digital world without the government pissing on their parade.

    They will not do it. The momentum is rising and speed is gaining. The clash between the dinosaurs of the old media is coming. It ain't gonna be pretty.
  • I totally agree, my ATT @home service is horrible. Trying to get any resolution to your problems is like getting your wisdom teeth removed. Since sometime last Tuesday, I've had poor connectivity after 5:00 pm. I've called @home 4 times now, and they are FINALLY sending someone to my apartment. I recieve nothing but SPAM to my @home email account, though I've never used it for anything. Abuse@home is pathetic, it's like everything sent there is sent to /dev/null. As a cable TV provider ATT is pathetic. My parents have comcast, and their service is MUCH better than mine. I get almost no channels with my extended basic, and they recently raised my rates by 5 dollars a month. ATT offers another cable service in my area called METS, but they made the rates unbeliveably high in an attempt to make everyone switch to ATT@Home.
  • by DragonHawk ( 21256 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2000 @04:52AM (#1023285) Homepage Journal
    what is the technical/financial/legal difference between different long-distance phone companies both providing service to the same area and two cable companies doing the same thing?

    You can switch long distance companies because they are providing a connection to distance sites. You still have the same LEC (Local Exchange Carrier), which actually brings the wire to your house. Now, there are (in places) CLECs (Competitive LECs) available, but what they do is essentially buy local lines in bulk from the primary LEC.

    The limitation is basically the fact that physical wires need to be strung on poles. You can talk of competition among the phone, power, and cable companies, but there is still only one set of power lines, one set of phone lines, and one TV cable running down your street. That is what the technical limitation is.

    The problem with a company like AT&T is that they have a vertical monopoly in particular locales. They don't own more then 30% of the service nationwide, but in the areas they do service, AT&T is the:

    - Phone Local Exchange Carrier (runs wires to your house, connects you to your neighbor)
    - Long-distance phone carrier (connects you to Aunt Marge)
    - Cable TV wire carrier (runs cable to your house)
    - Television programming producer (makes TV shows ("content"))
    - Internet Service Provider (connects to the 'net backbone)
    - Internet Content Provider

    Aunt Marge may not have AT&T's monopoly, but she may have Time-Warner's instead (or whatever).

    That's the objection these people have.
  • I have nothing against Monopolies ... as long as they make a good product :) Everyone hates Microsoft because they are a Monopoly and thier product sucks. The reason why most people don't care about an AT&T monopoly is because they have a good product.
  • The regional Bells are still separate.

    NYNEX (Northeast) merged with Bell Atlantic (Mid-Atlantic States), then tried to merge with BellSouth.

    What needs to happen is for the local telcos (and cable) to be deregulated and a uniform system developed whereby several firms can lay fiber to any given price.

    The municipalities would continue doing things the same way without some sort of prodding from the Feds. These big companies buy and sell congressmen every day, you think they don't have local reps in their pocket?

    What needs to happen is a seperation of hardware and service: Electric companies sell you electricity, but they don't make the appliances you put the electricity through. There should be companies that take care of the actual wiring in the ground, but these companies should not be able to offer any services to consumers, all they can do is rent bandwidth to cable, phone, etc, who can offer services to the end user. The real problem with this AT&T merger is that they're going to own all the network hardware their competitors need to run on as well as competing in the service market.

    One or the other should be the rule.

  • I get my Internet access through AT&T's @Home service, but in my area both AT&T and Ameritech compete for home cable access. Due to the screwy pricing structure for @Home and AT&T cable, I actually have Ameritech's cable service. Yes, it does come in on two different physical wires, but at least I get options.

    Perhaps in less populated areas this isn't possible, but in cities with dense populations of cable subscribers, I think multiple providers does a great job. (Nevermind the alternative of DSS for TV and xDSL for Ineternet access).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Note: This is just speculation.

    Technically there's no problem. Use frequency based multiplexing and a cable can be split between an arbitrary number of companies each with a different stake easily. Overall, this would be less efficient than packet switching, but much easier from an administration point of view.

    Legally, there's no reason they can't lease or sell bandwidth to their competitors or just swap.

    Financially, the only reason is that they can make more money if they freeze out their competitors. This strikes me as very short sighted, but big corporations tend to be.
  • by chitselb ( 25940 ) on Tuesday June 06, 2000 @03:47AM (#1023290) Homepage
    First of all, it's "services," not "servises." And "bat" should have been "bad." Editor!

    Moving to the substance of the matter, here we see big media news coverage of Yet Another Big Media Merger. Does it occur to anyone besides me that:

    1) CNN's coverage of a competitor's mega-merger might be um... somewhat biased?

    2) Leaving the details of this one particular mega-deal aside, it's kind of strange that such an enormous concentration of media power has been placed into the hands of so few people in an alleged Democratic Republic?

    In other words, would it really make a difference if we give all the control to a single corporation over all the media (cable TV, broadcast TV, radio, broadband, dialup, newspapers) vs. splitting it up into a cartel of a dozen or so companies? If an advertiser will eagerly pay millions of dollars for a single 30-second spot during the Super Bowl(tm), it could only be for one reason -- because it works. One of the reasons I avoid watching TV is that I believe the same holds true for the other 99.9996527778% of the year. This is taking place in an era where, in theory, just about *anyone* can garner a worldwide audience for their idea, if it is good enough, using readily available, affordable equipment. Why then are so few people (RIAA, MPAA, Disney/Go/ABC, MS/NBC/GE, etc...) in control of the intellectual marketplace?

  • for about the third time in a year, MediaOne has just raised my rates, now $51 a month for standard cable. no hbo, no skinimax, nothing fancy, just networks, cnn, sports and discovery channel.

    I guess they have to cover the cost of their merger lawyers.


    monopolies suck.
  • Are regional bells restricted from expanding out of their own areas? I would have thought that the Bells would be competing with each other.
  • AFAIK - and I am quite close to telecoms in the UK - Telecommunications Act '90 and '92 served British Telecommunications Unlimited (the non corporate license holder) the license for its subsidiary, British Telecommunications Plc (trading as BT Plc)with the right to expand into defined areas of mixed media broadcasting e.g. VOD in return for indirect access rights for Cable Co's local loop

    These licenses were always allocated to individual companies on a regional basis, ensuring a de facto regional monopoly if they didn'tbuild out.

    Since (e.g.)CWC (Cable and Wireless Communications) took direct stakes in cable firms (circa 92-94) it lost the incentive to build out cable runs to areas not already served because its business model - as with a large part of all Cable Co's is to generate voice traffic.

    For that CWC e.g. says to me : "Oh, sure we'll provision some ISDN lines for you, BT will put them in .." Thus my lines are BT, and when I had a not small dispute with BT last year they fsked with my CWC lines (which are legally in in CWC's name not mine) including pulling the cables at the exchange on frequent occasions

    Oh yeah, and since BT's upstream ISDN is overloaded - as are almost all their local switches in dense areas right now - I cant even get 64/128k ISDN, sometimes throughput is one quarter of that.

    For the record my beef with BT is they (disclaimer - my opinion based on evidence) implemented ISDN Q.931 ETSI signalling so poorly - 14 sware variations around the country - esp. with signalling (which is supposed to be X.25 for fskus sake so I cant believe they ballsed that) that I get a BIG line drop rate from overseas POTSloosing me business and generally causing grief (callers hear a ringing or dead tone and this is *not* a CPE set up problem).

    the effect of the poor implementation is to drive up ISDN hardware costs ('coz tech support o'head et.c.) to 3* European prices and forces everyone to depend on their shitty overpriced switched centrex - "Feature Line" which is no good for 10 - 20 line installs.

    Getting this ISDN right was a *key tenet* of their LICENSE. So after trying to sue me for everything under the sun, they've shut up for a bit and I'm just waiting on legal clearance to put up a nice detailed site to get some fresh air into it all.

    I dont care what beef the guys in the US have - shit here we really do have only 1 telco and their running down their networks like crazy to the point nothing interoperates.

    Oh and I'm just waiting for my lines to go dead now - some weeks ago i posted a big rant here about government appointed monopolies - minutes later - all quiet. Let's test this out? *grin*

  • I am a TCI @Home subscriber, and I feel that my current level of service is inadequate. @Home simply stinks as an ISP, and TCI's cable services is horrible. How does this merger affect this? Now, there is no choice of cable TV provider in my area (Ameritech is leaving the business), and there is no choice of cable ISP.

    What we have is a monopoly - a monopoly that does unfair things like cracking down on every Linux user that leaves a "Thanks for installing Apache" web page on their box, a monopoly with laughably inadequate technical support, a monopoly that doesn't deal with the 50 per day script-kiddie crack attempts against my box.

    And it needs to stop. Mediaone should not be allowed to merge with AT&T - instead, they should expand into AT&T's market and compete to bring good cable internet service to the area.

    Just another disgruntled TCI subscriber.


There is one way to find out if a man is honest -- ask him. If he says "Yes" you know he is crooked. -- Groucho Marx