Thursday, March 30, 2006

Petition demanding AT&T upgrade or divest gains early support

More than 100 residents from various parts of El Dorado County have signed an on line petition urging AT&T demonstrate its commitment to serving El Dorado County’s current and future telecommunications needs by taking immediate measures to upgrade its system with fiber optic cable offering broadband Internet access.

The petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/EldoTelecom/ also asks AT&T to immediately solicit bids to sell off its assets in the county to another telecommunications provider that is committed to putting in place a state of the art telecommunications system if it determines doing so is not in its economic interests.

“Since the petition was only initially publicized in early February, I’m encouraged by the support it has received so far,” said Fred Pilot, organizer of El Dorado County Residents and Businesses for Quality Telecommunications. “The numbers show the petition is gaining early traction and momentum, reflecting the level of dissatisfaction with the current state of AT&T’s service in El Dorado County.” The dissatisfaction is evident in the comments of those signing the petition.

“My husband and I have been deeply frustrated with the lack of accessibility to modern communication systems,” wrote El Dorado resident Sandra Parson. “We are stuck with dial up, which is archaic in this day and age no matter where one lives! We urge [AT&T] to act on this petition quickly.”

“AT&T owes us the same level of service as their urban customers since they have been permitted to have a monopoly,” wrote Pollock Pines resident Richard Campbell.

“This needs to happen very, very, soon!” wrote Placerville resident Joanne Mello. “And this must happen in the Pleasant Valley area, too.”

“So many of the basic services on the net require a faster service than the 24K Bits/second,” wrote Garden Valley resident Patricia Snelling. “How are we expected to function the same as other Internet customers when we don’t have the same options available to us?”

Pollock Pines resident Clarence Abbott wrote that broadband Internet access “is essential for the conduct of business and personal communications, and retrieving info from Web.”

“Broadband service for El Dorado County has become a necessity in our ever changing world of technology,” noted Placerville resident Julie Donner. “With only dial-up available to us, which is only 28k, broadband would also be most appreciated.”

South Lake Tahoe business owner Bill Burns said he has been asking AT&T to provide broadband Internet service in his area for more than four years to no avail. “I am totally dissatisfied with the service I currently receive and will not consider any more,” Burns wrote AT&T on the petition. “I am appalled and disgusted by the marketing of technology you cannot deliver. If I had another choice, I would not do business with your company. Provide us with service we can use, not empty PR about the great things we can expect.”

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El Dorado County remains disconnected as broadband subscribers show 10 million increase in 2005

The number of broadband Internet subscribers grew by 10 million in the United States in 2005, according to the Durham, NC-based research firm Leichtman Research Group (LRG).

“With about 10 million additional broadband subscribers in the US in 2005, the number of net broadband additions has increased every year this decade” said
Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG.

By contrast, most El Dorado County residents remain stranded along the information highway, stuck with sluggish dial up connections to the Internet representative of early 1990s technology. While the majority of Americans who use the Internet from home enjoy high speed connections, El Dorado County residents are relegated to unreliable dial up connections that make using surfing the Web difficult.

They suffer this plight because the county’s predominant telecommunications provider, AT&T, has failed to bring El Dorado County up to date with a modern, reliable telecommunications system. Large portions of the county are wired with an aging and obsolete copper cable system that often proves incapable of delivering reliable voice service let alone Internet access.

El Dorado County Residents and Businesses is sponsoring a petition drive urging AT&T to upgrade its system or divest its assets in the county to make way for another provider committed to serving the county’s current and future telecommunications needs. The online petition can be accessed at http://www.ipetitions.com/campaigns/EldoTelecom/.

 
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