AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson must be smoking crack.

Did you know that you can get DSL service from AT&T for $10 a month? It’s only 768k download speed, but for a lot of people who are just browsing the web and reading email that’s plenty fast enough for what they do. Beats the hell out of dialup speeds anyway. A lot of people don’t know about it though because AT&T hasn’t exactly promoted it. In fact it can be somewhat difficult to even find the offering on their website. When I went there just a moment ago I saw several service plans listing prices ranging from $14.99 to $34.99, but nothing that said $10. Then on the lower right hand side there was the following blurb:

You have to answer two questions about if you’ve ever had their services previously or are currently a customer and then they finally present you a full listing of all the available speeds including the $10 768/128 speed. It’s the sort of thing a lot of folks would just overlook. AT&T’s CEO seems to think it’s because no one really wants that speed, or so he claims in a recent Q&A:

Q: Of all the things the AJC has written about AT&T lately, none has caused more reader irritation than AT&T’s $10 a month DSL offer, which was required by the Federal Communications Commission when you bought BellSouth. A lot of folks said they couldn’t find it. It was hard to find on your site. Why?

A: We haven’t made it difficult to find. To be honest with you, that’s not a product that our customers have clamored for. We still have $15 offers out there in the marketplace, even $20 offers, for 1.5 megabit speeds. Those are really kind of the minimum speeds that give a good user experience. So I don’t want to necessarily offer up a product where the user experience is not what I would consider really state of the art. That $10 product is kind of in that mode.

I admit I’m not privy to AT&T’s marketing research, but I can think of plenty of people who’d be happy with the $10 DSL offering as they have little need for anything more and who probably don’t know it exists to begin with. It’s hard to imagine why AT&T wouldn’t just put the price right on the main page with all the other offers they have unless the truth is they really don’t want customers to consider it as an option. At the very least it’s disingenuous to not promote a service and then claim that nobody really wants it.

4 thoughts on “AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson must be smoking crack.

  1. I’m always wary of claims of speed.  I used to have 56.6k dial-up service that occasionally, once a month or so, surpassed it’s average 5 kbps and hit 25 or 30 kbps. That was in a small town, and eight years ago, so maybe that’s why.

    I’ve had DSL and Cable in the past few years, and once while downloading Ubuntu via bittorrent I hit 700kbps, a mere fraction of the 2.5 or 3 Mbps you’re supposed to get.  I know a lot of this is on the server side, but I have to ask, does anybody around here regularly get speeds that “only” getting 768/128 would slow you down?

  2. Hey!  That was my line, elwedriddsche!  wink

    Seriously, I wouldn’t accept DSL from AT&T;if they paid me.

  3. Thrice, not sure about where you live, but the Wide Open West service I used to have in Canton regularly hit damn close to the 6Mbits/sec they advertised.

    The 3Mbps service we have with Charter right now isn’t quite as speedy, but still does pretty well. Here’s a speed test report to a site in California:

    And a little closer to home hitting New York:

    So, yeah, I’d notice if it dropped down to 786K.

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