Thursday, August 21, 2008

Go suck a satellite, AT&T spokesman reiterates

AT&T's marketing slogan "Your world delivered" should be followed by a huge asterisk directing readers to fine print that states:

* Provided you reside in our world, which may or may not exist in this or other dimensions, parallel universes or those comprised of dark matter and/or energy.

An AT&T spokesman drove home the point this week, telling the Eureka (Calif.) Reporter “People choose to live where they choose to live. (How profound) We have a broadband solution for everybody in areas where it’s not feasible to stretch the wireline network via satellite.”

In other words, "Your world isn't necessarily our world and if it's not, we're sorry, you'll just have to go suck a satellite." However, that's hardly a good option as some local residents quoted in the Reporter article note, pointing to its slow and less than reliable connections and high costs that make it more suitable for remote Arctic regions than the lower 48 states.

Connie Davis, a Web-based business owner and treasurer of the Hoopa (Calif.) Association, has the right idea when it comes to countering the big telco's lackadaisical stance. Davis says people cannot look to large telcos or even their local governments for help (the latter hardly surprising given California's difficulty in keeping both state and local govenment functioning these days) getting broadband. They must take matters into their own hands at the grass roots level and most importantly, think outside the box. Moreover, Davis has no time for delaying games packaged as "studies" of broadband availability and demand. "We don’t need to do studies," Davis says. "We don’t need to talk about this. We just need to do it because we need it.” I couldn't have said it better myself, Connie.

I hope the millions of folks stuck in broadband black holes throughout the U.S. follow her advice and form fiber optic and wireless cooperatives they can control and operate rather than leaving themselves at the mercy of big telcos and cable companies who are about as responsive to their needs as the former Soviet phone company.

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