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AT&T Businesses The Almighty Buck Wireless Networking IT Politics

AT&T Wants $100 Million From California Taxpayers For Aging DSL (dslreports.com) 224

An anonymous reader quotes an article on DSLReports: AT&T is asking California taxpayers to give them $100 million so that it can provide several parts of the state with unreliable, slow and expensive DSL service. Under Assembly Bill 2130 (written by AT&T lobbyists), AT&T would receive $100 million from state taxpayers. In return, AT&T would only need to provide 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload and would have little to no oversight over whether the $100 million is even being used for the DSL service.
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AT&T Wants $100 Million From California Taxpayers For Aging DSL

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  • by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:02PM (#51794597) Journal

    they'll get it.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:35PM (#51794879)

      Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T are having a contest

      1. Who can be the biggest dick to their customer.
      2. Who can screw over local governments the most.
      3. Who can screw over State governments the most.
      4. Grand Prize, screw over the Federal Government and ALL taxpayers.

      • This might be the only time ever that the government could do better than industry. Internet is a utility, folks. It's like rural electrification. Could we let the rich have solid fancy electricity while leaving the rural with flaky and slow power? Nope. Same argument for Internet.
        • The US power grid is a commercial enterprise. It's built with the minimum of redundancy needed to keep operating when a line goes down for maintenance, because unused capacity is seen as money wasted. This was demonstrated in 2003, when a single power line failed - and caused a series of cascade failures and desyncronisations that knocked out power to half the north-east US and a chunk of Ontario. The US has flaky power - and if electricity had a speed, it'd be slow too.

    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      You may be interested in knowing that, as written, your sig does not make sense. Mostly because the last "word" isn't a word in Hebrew.

  • Unreliable DSL is a plant problem, not a technology problem.

    • Regardless, what AT&T is capable of delivering is unreliable DSL service.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      I agree, the downside with DSL is that you also need copper, and to get that you "need" a landline.

      Buried optical fiber is the way to go. It costs a bit to put it down but when it's there it will stand up to a lot of what nature can put out except earthquakes, but the fault lines are often known today and can therefore be circumvented. You may not know when the quake will happen, but when it happens you may at least know where it probably will occur. So don't cross a known fault line without appropriate rem

      • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:26PM (#51794803)
        You don't "need" a land line, it's called a "dry loop". I've had one for almost five years now. It still sucks compared to fiber though lol.
        • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

          It depends on your telecom operator. Some won't give you DSL without a land line.

        • by ADRA ( 37398 )

          Not all Telco's offer dry loops to non-business customers without jumping through hoops, and this is when you specifically know to ask about it.

          • After being screwed over by AT&T for several years via U-verse (over that time they were never able to synch up the billing cycles so that we received on single, unified bill) when we moved we determined to get 3rd party DSL over AT&T copper.

            AT&T seemed to do everything in their power to screw over the ISP (Sonic). I called AT&T multiple times and it eventually turned out that they had told us the wrong wiring closet for our circuit, so Sonic came back and rewired, but I think AT&T late
            • My apartment complex has been an "AT&T only Community" for at least 10 years. New management finally comes in, who is willing to let in competition. So I pop open the access box on the side of the apartment...and the coax is has all been cut off, about 1/2 inch from the customer side and about 1/2 inch out of the pipe. Checked other buildings here; same deal everywhere. The coax itself is covered in dirt and crap...it's obvious that this was done some time ago. My bet is that the AT&T techs slice
          • I think that I ordered mine through the "business" side, and have a "commercial" account, helped out quite a bit. Also, there is no data caps on it...which is a good thing, since I'm sitting at 140GB for the last seven days...
      • You know nothing about California. It'searthquake country, and fiber is fragile for earthquakes compared to copper. Copper has it's own independent DC power supply, and it will work even when other utilities are not available. Remember, POTS runs on the same wires, and it will keep going in an emergency.

        I'm not sure about the backbone structure of cellular communications, but I have see that cell phones are also more effected by earthquakes then copper. Keeping copper as a backup is a good idea if you want

        • Copper is good for voice service, especially with a simple corded phone, but nobody you might want to call has POTS anymore.

          Meanwhile, the problem with cell phones is that the networks go over capacity the instant that a disaster happens.

          Except 911 calls, which are prioritized and handled very differently by the system, cell phones don't work after any emergency.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Japan has a lot of fibre.
      • Right now I get 12Mbps VDSL, which presumably needed to have fiber to my neighborhood before they would even consider it (yes, I can increase this to 48Mbps if I wanted to spend the caps). My mother only gets 1Mbps as that is the best AT&T could offer. So how are they getting 10Mbps with normal DSL to rural areas which presumably are not close to the telephone switches?

        I agree though, if they are digging new lines then they should be putting in fiber.

    • Ummm..what about fibre optic cable. Toronto we've had fibre optic cable networks going up the last 2 years. In Tokyo, they've had a fibre optic cable network there for at least 4 years. the real issue for me is why use a dated technology when a superior one proven in the field exists? Gut feeling: it's a way of maximizing profits at the cost of speed/reliability.
      • Ummm..what about fibre optic cable. Toronto we've had fibre optic cable [...] In Tokyo, they've had [...]

        Yes, in large cities where the population density is measured in thousands per square kilometer, it makes a lot of sense.

        The locations being mentioned are rural areas. Some have a population of approximately 0 per square kilometer, it can be 5+km between homes. Others are smaller towns where the population may be single-digit or double-digit per square kilometer.

        Currently fiber doesn't make sense financially until you begin to approach 1000 per km2. Then you can have enough customers to justify the cost

        • If the copper isn't already there it doesn't make sense financially until the same 1000 per km2. The bulk of the cost isn't the material, it's the installation and the costs for installing copper and fiber are about the same these days if not on the side of fiber given coppers price and long term maintenance costs. The problem is we have millions of miles of copper laying out there and rather than upgrade it to significantly better technology we simply try to use the existing asset poorly.

          The rest of the wo

        • You don't need fiber to the home. Even major California cities don't have that. But for example consider the mountain regions in California. They get good electricity, they even have decent mobile phone coverage from AT&T. So they really only need copper from the mobile phone backhaul to the houses. It won't be as good as a fat cable but 10Mbps down is a helluva lot better than dialup, assuming AT&T will give decent non-gouging rates.

          My mother didn't have good phone service growing up in the Si

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Correct, but even in the absence of plant problems, 1MB upstream is often not enough. Especially at times when cloud sync or backup programs are running. In addition, when the upstream becomes 80-90% saturated downstream speeds and latency collapse into a mess of uselessness.

      In my market with CenturyLink many rural areas get slightly better service, unless you are at the very extent of line distance. This is because, at least in the city center, the lines to the CO are buried, old, and have definite pla

  • Umm... no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:03PM (#51794605) Journal
    Really, AT&T? You want yet more money from us, with no oversight or guarantee that you're going to use it for the purpose for which we would give it to you?

    You think we don't see how poorly that arrangement has worked for us in the past? Kindly fuck off.
    • If they open the infrastructure up to competitors in all areas they service, it might not be a bad move by the State.
      • You missed the "no oversight" part, eh? We already gave them a shit-ton of money for this. We didn't get what we paid for.
    • Exactly. They've already been given plenty of exclusions, exceptions, grants, tax breaks, and may other things to provide that which they still haven't provided, and now they want even more money with no requirement to actually deliver.
      They may have bought enough politicians to get what they want, but I doubt the public will fall for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:03PM (#51794611)

    Please Piss up a live wire. Take your 20 year old DSL tech and cram it where the Sun cannot shine....
    ATT = The Shittiest Company next to Comcast that Exists.
    (Hi Comcast! YES, you are STILL the worst!) :-D

  • Well, Yes, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:08PM (#51794645)

    But AT&T probably has given at least ONE or two of those millions to the people they're asking for the hundred million. It's really just an investment. The DSL has nothing to do with it.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:12PM (#51794671) Journal

    I just downgraded to a 2 meg connection for $80 a month so I won't go over the cap with Comcast which was 30 megs. I have no choice in the matter and feel that is a good deal if AT&T won't do caps. 10 megs if fine. DSL is fine for streaming and more appropriate for geeks who do 100 gig caps easily each month. Cable operators are jerks in the matter where they sell LOOK 100 megs ... only 2 gig cap and $10 for each other gig in very small print.

    I know the European readers are shocked and or laughing in disbelief at my comment but welcome to America.

    • Up to 10 megs is not a guaranteed 10 megs. I would bet that 10 megs will rarely be the actual speed since DSL relies on proximity to the hub, the closer the faster the speed, and powered amplifiers for other outside of a mile, or so. They probably still use CAT 3 cable to boot..
    • I just downgraded to a 2 meg connection for $80 a month so I won't go over the cap with Comcast which was 30 megs. I have no choice in the matter and feel that is a good deal if AT&T won't do caps. 10 megs if fine. DSL is fine for streaming and more appropriate for geeks who do 100 gig caps easily each month. Cable operators are jerks in the matter where they sell LOOK 100 megs ... only 2 gig cap and $10 for each other gig in very small print.

      I know the European readers are shocked and or laughing in disbelief at my comment but welcome to America.

      Compared to Europe, or even some 3rd world countries, North America (Canada and USA) seem awfully backward and old fashioned. So much stuff seems extremely retro or even antiquated; the banks, the electrical systems, the plumbing, the cars, the music you hear on the street (constant flashbacks to the '80s).

      I'd thought North America was a centre of innovation and modern technology, so much for 'the New World'!! More like going back in time 30 years.

      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @05:03PM (#51795097)

        Yeah, well, you guys are just getting started on mass shootings and we've been doing them for fucking decades. When Charles Whitman was blasting people from the University of Texas tower, you guys couldn't even organize a proper sports riot.

        Now we've got so many mass shootings they barely make it above the fold of the paper. You guys have one and you make it seem like it's a big fucking deal. Get over yourselves.

      • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Monday March 28, 2016 @05:05PM (#51795113)

        Compared to Europe, or even some 3rd world countries, North America (Canada and USA) seem awfully backward and old fashioned. So much stuff seems extremely retro or even antiquated; ... the cars....

        I hate to break it to you, but we drive the same Japanese cars you Europeans do.

      • Yeah, but we lead the world in corporatocracy.
      • Part of the issue is that you are just seeing comparisons of European cities to the worst of rural america.
        I recently moved from rural Europe to USA. In europe I got 1 MB for around $60 and people within 10km of me were still on ADSL. I am now getting 100MB(speed wise I average 120MB) and lots of TV and music channels for around $105.
        • Part of the issue is that you are just seeing comparisons of European cities to the worst of rural america.

          I recently moved from rural Europe to USA. In europe I got 1 MB for around $60 and people within 10km of me were still on ADSL. I am now getting 100MB(speed wise I average 120MB) and lots of TV and music channels for around $105.

          Try downtown Seattle.

      • I don't know what you are referring to lumping the banking systems of Canada and the US together but they are fairly different. The banks in Canada have much tougher regulations. Our credit cards have had chip and pin for quite a while (about a decade?) and they have had NFC chips for tap and pay for years now.

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      The Comcast caps I've seen from people have been at 300 GB where they charge you $10 for 50GB more if you go over, but you've switched to crappy internet with an absolute cap of 650 GB (assuming 24/7 usage) which makes you far less likely to reach it. Using it only 8 hours a day at that speed you won't even reach the Comcast cap!
    • by klui ( 457783 )

      AT&T imposes transfer caps on their ADSL subscribers while although the ToS for their U-verse and GigaPower states a transfer cap, they're not enforced.

  • I've been arguing with AT&T for nearly a year now about getting a faster connection to our house. We live in the "woods", but no more than 10 miles from places with enough people to provide them with pretty fast U-Verse speeds. All they can provide me is 768kbps, no amount of begging and pleading has ever even gotten a tech out to even *check* if they can give me more (our direct neighbor gets 6Mbps, still slow but nearly an order of magnitude higher than mine). They have though promised to send someone

  • In all fairness. speaking from overseas.. this sounds like a good deal. If all rural area gets 10/1Mbit net, or better, for only 100M.. then it's a pretty good deal.

    And getting anyone connected should be priority for any state. Just only once you have and use net you realize it's about as essential as electricity. So even if tax payers help connecting more remote area's, i'd still see it as a good thing.

    Relativating again.. If AT&T were to promise that kind of speeds on landlines nationwide at that pric

    • In all fairness. speaking from overseas.. this sounds like a good deal. If all rural area gets 10/1Mbit net, or better, for only 100M.. then it's a pretty good deal.

      That would be a great deal. Unfortunately this is AT&T we're talking about. They'll take the money and run, like they have in the past. We'll be $100 million poorer, they'll be $100 million richer, and absolutely nothing else will change. We've been here before, and the taste hasn't quite left our mouths yet.

    • However AT&T is giving no guarantees, there will be no oversight, and the cost to the consumer will be very high. Later on they will lobby that because of all this money spent that 10/1 should count as "broadband".

      Though I agree that 10/1 is good enough even for streaming, assuming you only stream one program at a time (and in rural areas it is indeed possible to teach children to limit the amount of tv they get, get their chores done, and even eat lima beans).

  • by NetNed ( 955141 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:26PM (#51794797)
    Sounds like the start of negotiations. Counter offer with a dollar.
  • Not a dime up front (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twotacocombo ( 1529393 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:26PM (#51794805)
    The only way this will ever work is if all payment is withheld until the work is completed, and satisfactorily at that. Unless there's a risk of AT&T having to foot the bill, they'll just continue to rob us blind and shit directly into our mouths, as usual. They just paid almost $50 billion acquiring DirecTV, so I'm sure they still have a few hundred million in petty cash laying around to float this until they're finished.
    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Exactly. I have no idea why these things aren't phased. Want the money for Part 2? Show us that Part 1 is completely finished. Otherwise, get lost and we're opening you up to competition with someone who CAN get it done.
  • by wizkid ( 13692 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:35PM (#51794881) Homepage

    We want to give it to you in true AT&T Style! Don't worry, you'll only feel like your getting screwed....

    hehehe well, you are getting screwed. Deal with it. Don't worry, your legislators are coming out ok. We've paid them well.

          Signed, AT&T

  • Of course they did. Profit, not the quality and in this case the quantity of service, is the motive here. But, that was obvious.
  • no.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IMightB ( 533307 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:38PM (#51794893) Journal

    Didn't we give these companies billions in tax credits and incentives in the late 90's and early 2000's to upgrade and expand their infrastructure? Now they want more? Dont they make any money from the fees they charge customers to pay for this sort of stuff? Why do they need the taxpayer to cough up cash for them?

    Also, I live three houses down from where Century Link in installing fiber in denver. Though I can see the equipment from my window and am less than a football field away, I'm not optimistic regarding my chances for getting FTTH, or even something better than cable service.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      They had $50 billion to buy DirecTV, but now they can't afford $100 million?
    • A big reason the USA is going bankrupt is because the corporate share of taxes has been going steadily down for decades. 2-There should be a maximum size on corporations. Too big to fail should mean too big to live.
  • Isn't till this Friday.
  • Without taxpayers money, ATT&T might not pull through : P

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:53PM (#51795027) Journal
    I checked AT&T's corporate site to see how dire their cash situation is. If this company is asking the taxpayers to foot the bill for upgrading their network then they must be in serious trouble.

    According to AT&T's press release dated October 22, 2015, AT&T had $39.1 billion in consolidated revenue, up 19% from the previous period (primarily due to the DirecTV purchase).

    They also had $10.8 billion in cash from operations and $5 billion in free cash flow [att.com].

    Apparently making a few billion dollars in a single quarter equates to not being able to spend $100 million to upgrade their own equipment. Who would have thought?
    • You miss the point entirely. The issue isn't what they can and can't afford. Why invest your own money when you can make someone else pay and you still reap the rewards (subscribers)? If there is money on the table, why would they leave it there? I don't blame ATT for this. Unless you are a holder of significant quantities of ATT stock, their job isn't to look out for your best interest. I blame the politicians for being corrupt and/or stupid enough to fall for it.
      • by synaptic ( 4599 )

        Isn't the issue here the extremely long ROI for rural improvements? Is AT&T obligated to build out these areas that won't be profit centers for them? I'm guessing the state throwing money at them changes that equation.

        Is AT&T the only provider who can do it? Did they even bid this out? I might have to RTFA here soon. :)

  • Business as usual (Score:5, Insightful)

    by demigod ( 20497 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @04:58PM (#51795059)

    This is Business as usual in the Corporate States of America.

    The companies write the laws that say we have to pay them.

    profit.
     

  • ...so that it can provide several parts of the state with unreliable, slow and expensive DSL service.

    Well, I guess that's the business they're in and what they're famous for.

  • AT&T is a prime example of the real Taker Class (tm).

  • Our ATT DSL is 7MBPS...
  • Otherwise they would, you know, maybe try to make sure what they have is well spent...

  • Fuck you!

    It's their damn network, they need to maintain it or get the fuck out of the state.

    If they want money from the state (ESPECIALLY a sum like 100 million, they better have a fiber replacement strategy in hand when they come begging for the money.

  • Verizon promised this to us, moons ago, and now we have a noncompetitive arrangement where handshakes or coin flips decide WHICH ISP gets the monopoly. http://www.speedmatters.org/bl... [speedmatters.org] Now the rates in NJ lead the planet. Careful Ca,Careful!
  • Since taxes are on my mind right now... If we give AT&T this $100 million, do we get a deduction for this act of charity?

  • Are these requests not for underserved, rural communities? They need help, and the NRTC, try as they may, might not be able to serve the telecommunications needs of these communities.

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