Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AT&T Is Not Your Telephone Company Anymore


Occasionally, when I travel, I find myself someplace without a cable or wifi connection, but there is that telephone on the table. That has never been a problem in the past. All of my prior ISPs have provided the alternative of using local access telephone numbers to get internet access through my laptop's internal modem when traveling and wifi was not available... all, apparently, except my present provider AT&T.

Having just returned from some travel, I thought I'd check in with AT&T to see if I was missing this dial-up access information. What follows is the transcript from my online chat:

System: Welcome Mr. Bruce Hall.
System: Connecting to server. Please wait...
System: Connection with server established.
You: Technical Support Topic: U-verse Other
System: (RODERICK) has joined this session!
System: Connected with (RODERICK)
(RODERICK): Thank you for contacting AT&T. You’ve reached U-Verse Support. This is Roderick . To provide you with excellent service today, may I please have the name and the telephone number associated with this account?
You: I am interested in knowing whether ATT provides a list of internet local access dial-up numbers for use when traveling and no wifi connections are available.
You: Bruce Hall xxx-xxx-xxxx
(RODERICK): Thank you for that information. Let me just pull up your account.
(RODERICK): And am I chatting with the account holder?
You: Yes, this is Bruce
(RODERICK): And by the way Bruce, the phone number you just gave me would that be a good call back number in case I need to follow up on something?
You: Yes
(RODERICK): Thank you for that information.
(RODERICK): Actually Bruce we don't have the list of Internet local access, but it is available on all hot spot areas to connect wirelessly.

[just a comment here... the help person, RODERICK, is not actually saying that AT&T is providing internet access... just that if you find a free wifi spot you can access the internet]

(RODERICK): You can also call AT&T Wi-Fi's Technical Operations Center toll-free at 888-888-7520 or email for technical support.
You: Let me understand: I need a wifi connection to access the internet because a telephone company does not have local access telephone lines?
(RODERICK): Wi-fi connection is applicable on hot spot areas.
You: And when there is no wifi available?
(RODERICK): Then it will be applicable for you laptop to connect.
You: I'm sorry I did not understand your answer. When no wifi is available, how do I use ATT to connect to the internet?
(RODERICK): Let me explain that to you further.

[this was the good part]

(RODERICK): For you to connect wirelessly you should be on a hot spot area. But if that area has no WI-FI connections then you cannot connect your Internet.
You: Okay, so ATT does not offer dial-up access to the internet as an alternative to wifi when I am traveling.
(RODERICK): Let me double check that for you.
(RODERICK): Kindly give me 3-4 minutes here in my end. As far as I know we have an Aircard.
(RODERICK): Thank you for patiently waiting Bruce.
(RODERICK): For you to avail that Aircard to you need to go to the nearest AT&T store.
You: And I must buy the Aircard? Will I have to buy minutes or is this part of my normal internet access?
(RODERICK): Or log in to the website which is at:
(RODERICK): I do apologize but that is what am I not sure of if its a prepaid or plan.
(RODERICK): I suggest to go to the nearest AT&T to verify that.
You: Okay, and thank you. This has been most enlightening.
(RODERICK): I appreciate that. And is there anything else that I can help you with?
You: No, thank you and goodbye.
(RODERICK): And by the way...
(RODERICK): I want to inform you that, you will receive an email inquiring as to whether you were Very Satisfied with the kind of service you received from me today. And when you receive that email, would you say that you were Very Satisfied?
You: Yes, I was quite satisfied with your effort.
(RODERICK): Please let me know on how can I make you a Very Satisfied customer?
You: At this point, you have done everything possible. Thanks, again, and goodbye.
So, for those of you who associated AT&T with "telephone company," you may want to rethink your association. Perhaps that is why it is now AT&T instead of American Telephone & Telegraph.

By the way, I did find this through a search.



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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
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... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)