AT&T rushes to install fiber after 90-year-old's WSJ open letter goes viral

Joe White

Posts: 58   +0
Staff
Cutting corners: If you’ve been wondering what it might take for AT&T to offer high-speed fiber in your neighborhood, one 90-year-old customer found the answer this week: a quarter-page ad in the Wall Street Journal. After paying for ad space to publish his open letter in which he complained about the provider’s 3Mbps DSL, customer Aaron Epstein found that AT&T technicians were rushing to hook his home up to 300Mbps fiber.

Epstein had struggled for some time with shoddy Internet coverage in his North Hollywood home, where he was accessing speeds of “up to” 3Mbps, and had previously found that complaining to AT&T directly didn’t help. That’s when he decided to take a more direct approach, paying $10,000 for a quarter-page ad in the WSJ where he published an open letter to AT&T CEO John T. Stankey. Epstein quickly found that the ad was worth every cent.

News outlets—beginning with Ars Technica—reported on Epstein’s plight, which even got a mention on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show. And guess what? Barely a week later, Epstein’s home is connected up to AT&T’s fiber service, with unlimited data and speeds of 300Mbps.

He told Ars, “the AT&T people I talked to tell me that they had to install extra wiring, and it's costing them thousands and thousands of dollars to put this wiring just for my house because my neighbors still do not have it, and they still have to go to considerable expense to hook up my neighbors.”

Epstein also got a personal call from AT&T’s CEO himself. Stankey explained that Epstein’s neighbors should be able to access fiber in the next year, once the remaining infrastructure has been put in place—although the extent to which AT&T’s actions are based on damage-limitation, rather than actual planned work, is unknown.

It’s a nice end to a fun story, even though countless Americans remain in a similar—or worse—situation. Last year, we told you about the McNamee family in Mississippi who are stuck with 768kbps DSL. To them, even Epstein’s initial 3Mbps would be a dream come true.

Permalink to story.

 

franticfrosty

Posts: 102   +117
What do Americans say about their country?... wait... oh yes, I got it, the Greatest Country in the World! Haha, yeah right, ok bye, going back to streaming on my modest, per UK standards that is, 300MB/s ;-P

Hardly standard when 80% of UK homes still only have up to 80mb/s available as a "top tier" expensive plan lol.

Also... I'm surprised no one noticed his last name, Jeffrey Epstein vs Aaron Epstein lol kinda unfortunate for him like
 

JohnSmithESP

Posts: 35   +17
I don't know if he's paying for 300mbps because he wants to, but if it is because of AT&T not being capable of more... wow. In Spain you can get gigabit ehternet without issues and paying something reasonable
 

noel24

Posts: 718   +851
That's a case to study for HBO's Last Week Tonight. "Yeah, We got You, business daddy!"
Of all the places in US, not Montana, not Alaska, just old, plain Hollywood? Something is very Stankey here...
Right now, I pay under $15 bucks for 300Mb/s in a small city in Eastern Europe. Fresh fiberwire. $10000 just for installation of the same speed connection seems kinda excessive for the major city of the Greatest Place on Earth, even considering 4x higher wages in 'Murica?
 
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candle_86

Posts: 729   +729
What do Americans say about their country?... wait... oh yes, I got it, the Greatest Country in the World! Haha, yeah right, ok bye, going back to streaming on my modest, per UK standards that is, 300MB/s ;-P

well in certain parts of the country it doesn't make sense financially for these companies to run high-speed internet. Hollywood yes but to a town of 300 people in the middle of Montana no. We have something in the UK doesn't have 16 times your land area.
 

Loadedaxe

Posts: 37   +48
What do Americans say about their country?... wait... oh yes, I got it, the Greatest Country in the World! Haha, yeah right, ok bye, going back to streaming on my modest, per UK standards that is, 300MB/s ;-P

I feel for people that can only get these speeds, but here in the greatest country, we all do not have this problem. My $79 mo speeds blow yours out the water.

 

psycros

Posts: 3,397   +3,888
Uuuh...am I supposed to believe they don't have cable where this guy lives? Cable has gigabit service practically everywhere now. But then again, big telecom outfits will fight tooth and nail to even keep competitors out even in areas they don't bother to serve!

I have friends who live in the boonies, miles from the nearest cable internet..but they have fast DSL. Why? Because Verizon finally sold off their control of the landline infrastructure allowing a new company to actually provide "last mile" solutions. Even so, progress has been glacial to actually get service to most of the rural areas - the company that filled Verizon's void is completely mismanaged and hasn't met any of its commitments. Several local governments finally got impatient and got the state to allow the new infrastructure provider to allow competitors to use their lines, and in no time at all you had acceptable DSL running into areas that would still be stuck with dial-up or overpriced wireless Internet. Small companies can take advantage of federal grants allowing them to still make a profit on providing service to areas beyond city limits. This is one form of socialism that actually makes sense.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,489   +3,321
TechSpot Elite
well in certain parts of the country it doesn't make sense financially for these companies to run high-speed internet. Hollywood yes but to a town of 300 people in the middle of Montana no. We have something in the UK doesn't have 16 times your land area.
you have states which pride themselves on independence from other states. you can run wires or fiber to those places, it's just that without government intervention it will never happen and the ISPs paid for laws that prevent that. regional monopolies defended by laws... so stupid.
 

DrSuess

Posts: 81   +42
Hehe, just saying, it’s a crime in Hollywood of all famous places in US there are ppl still stuck in 90’s Internet speeds that’s all :)
Higher internet speeds are definitely available in the Hollywood area. His mistake was sticking with AT&T. 300 Mbps and 1 Gbps service have been available in the area for at least a couple of years from other service providers.

Edit: I not that far from where the 90 year old gentleman lives and in my area AT&T also only offers 2 Mbps DSL but I am far enough away from the central office that I was only getting 1 Mbps. This is why I switched providers years ago, there are two providers in the area that provide 300Mbps, 500Mbps and 1Gbps in the area.
 
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Scshadow

Posts: 641   +299
I've never been a big fan of government intervention but they need to mandate fiber deployment. 2030, nothing should run on copper communication anymore. We need to take the cost calculation out of the equation. Shareholders demand profit and it cripples companies from deploying fiber to their entire footprint. Cause even if they wanted to, the shareholders would throw a fit. So to make the shareholders happy and defend their company's profits, they have to do cost to reward analysis and have to come to the conclusion that its not worth it. Make it a forced cost and they'll figure out how to get it done. They put copper telephone wire everywhere, we can figure out how to put optical conduit in its place.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 293   +242
It's call infrastructure , like you know roads, powerlines , bridges etc . Exploiters & defilers can get roads build in USA on Federal money so they can rip pristine Artic reserves and forests apart - That's money well spent. Shame the USA didn't come to its senses earlier and made all roads the grinders use private. Of course the the Oligarchy use can use Palace to private airport roads etc - that need to be paid by the grinders as they are of strategic national importance. Plus primary and secondary schools need to be privatised for the grinders - we are not communist pinkos
TL/DR - rest of the world pays taxes for Govts to provide fiber they charge back to backbone/providers etc
 

candle_86

Posts: 729   +729
I've never been a big fan of government intervention but they need to mandate fiber deployment. 2030, nothing should run on copper communication anymore. We need to take the cost calculation out of the equation. Shareholders demand profit and it cripples companies from deploying fiber to their entire footprint. Cause even if they wanted to, the shareholders would throw a fit. So to make the shareholders happy and defend their company's profits, they have to do cost to reward analysis and have to come to the conclusion that its not worth it. Make it a forced cost and they'll figure out how to get it done. They put copper telephone wire everywhere, we can figure out how to put optical conduit in its place.

Power and phone where ran on the government's dime who then sold those lines to the utility companies
 
Now all they need to do is just pay this man back the 10 grand he had to pay to run an ad for just so they would do what they were supposed to do...
 

Vanderkaum037

Posts: 17   +18
What do Americans say about their country?... wait... oh yes, I got it, the Greatest Country in the World! Haha, yeah right, ok bye, going back to streaming on my modest, per UK standards that is, 300MB/s ;-P

Have a go if you must, but in terms of land area, the state of California is about 60% bigger than the UK. It's much easier to have high-speed internet everywhere when your country is more densely populated--S. Korea for example. That being said, this guy is what makes America great IMHO.
 

EClyde

Posts: 2,390   +941
What do Americans say about their country?... wait... oh yes, I got it, the Greatest Country in the World! Haha, yeah right, ok bye, going back to streaming on my modest, per UK standards that is, 300MB/s ;-P
USA Greatest country in the history of the world. If you base great on internet speed you a sad sack
 

MasterMace

Posts: 172   +141
That's a case to study for HBO's Last Week Tonight. "Yeah, We got You, business daddy!"
Of all the places in US, not Montana, not Alaska, just old, plain Hollywood? Something is very Stankey here...
Right now, I pay under $15 bucks for 300Mb/s in a small city in Eastern Europe. Fresh fiberwire. $10000 just for installation of the same speed connection seems kinda excessive for the major city of the Greatest Place on Earth, even considering 4x higher wages in 'Murica?
The ad cost $10,000. The techs are told to say how everything is sooooo expensive, when those are only entry expenses, and the business generates 97% profits. This is per an ISP's filings with the SEC.

Boston only recently got FIOS after 2 separate deals a decade apart. Verizon claimed there were so many units it would be too expensive. Looking south of Boston. What about Cape Cod? Single line through to the end, rich people, everybody wants fast internet? Nope, not enough people. Cities with 90-100k, like Brockton or Quincy? Nope, too many. 55k people in Weymouth? Still no.

Braintree got fedup and just made their own.
This is the reason so many municipalities got fed up and made their own ISP. 1 gig internet is cheap and easy to run. South Korea offers it for $20 per month.

The only reason a company would intentionally not move to make money when its cheap and easy, and withdraw from markets they are already in is because they have a monopoly agreement.
 

CrisisDog

Posts: 235   +132
So, AT&T is the only Internet option for this guy? Now that is sad. Thankfully my neighborhood also has two cable TV companies that provide service which blows AT&T out of the water....
 

Ludak021

Posts: 411   +286
I don't know if he's paying for 300mbps because he wants to, but if it is because of AT&T not being capable of more... wow. In Spain you can get gigabit ehternet without issues and paying something reasonable


Does Spain span across as much land as USA does? Does it have 300+ million residents?
No.
So, I am sorry for directing this at you, it's meant for everyone claiming greatness of their country's internet connection. While actually stating your personal plan speeds, most of you have no idea what rural parts, or just other parts of your country can have, have or will never have.You have no idea if your provider would install fiber infrastructure for a small community in which not everybody would even subscribe to it.

Personally I have 130/10mbit cable connection. I could get fiber, but the speeds are similar (up to "whole" 300mbit) and costs much more. A lot of people have faster connections, but even more (much more) do not. I am not going to go and say "my country has 300mbit fiber" because it's not completely true. Only ~20% of the country can apply, and even less will get it.