|▲ AT&T offers $10 DSL, but tells no one about it |
By Steve Ragan
Jun 20, 2007, 16:08 GMT
AT&T has complied with a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling and launched a new DSL plan that costs just $10. While the low cost is interesting, the interesting fact is that they launched it without any sort of announcement, or fanfare. The reasons could be any number of things, but the one that is being pointed out the most is that they were forced to create the service and offer the service, but no one said they had to market it.
The DSL plan was launched Saturday. AT&T created the plan, in accordance to concessions made to the FCC in order to get an $86 billion buyout approved when they wanted to acquire Bell South in 2006. The $10 plan is available to consumers in the AT&T service area, which includes Bell South customers and a total of twenty-two states. The requirements are normal, local phone service and a one-year contract.
Several reports including one by the Associated Press pointed out that the news release made last Friday, by AT&T about new DSL offerings excluded mention of the low cost plan. Looking for the plan on the AT&T website reveals that it is almost hidden unless you look at the Term Contract Plans page. A spokesperson for AT&T told the AP that the $10 plan is offered to customers who go through the application process, but made no mention as to why the plan appears to be hidden online or why it was not announced.
Offering speeds of 768kbps down and 128kbps up, the elusive plan matches one that AT&T does display online and sells it for $19.00 per month. The $19.99 plan covers the former Bell South coverage area and in the other thirteen states, it retails for $14.99. The thirteen state coverage areas were covered by AT&T before they acquired Bell South.
AT&T is still required by the FCC to launch a “naked DSL” plan and has six months to get that off the ground. Naked DSL is a service option for DSL that would not require local phone service. Consumer rights groups pushed for the type of service because VoIP calls using the DSL lines are cheaper in some cases than local tolls for calling. The issue is the standard 768kbps download speed offered by DSL, which to some consumers is too slow for any form of decent QoS (Quality of Service) regarding VoIP usage.
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