Remember a couple months ago when I was complaining about my internet troubles? Well, they haven’t gone away. In fact, they’ve gotten worse. All I can say is AT&T is just bad.
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Last time, I went on a bit of rant about internet speeds. In particular, I complained about upload speeds not matching download speeds which seems odd to me. After all, a lot of people stream nowadays, so why haven’t ISPs improved their upload speeds.
Personally, my wife and I need better upload speeds to backup our devices. If my wife backs up a photo on our current internet, we can’t do anything else. Forget even browsing the web; the download speed is zero.
In addition to trash upload speeds, I also ranted a little bit about internet costs. In particular, I complained about the hidden contract fees that ISPs include to keep you from changing services. Of course, other ISPs have contract buyout deals but only if you promise to enter into their garbage contract. Talk about terrible competition.
Finally, I mentioned that Spectrum offered to put service in my area. Well, it’s been several months, and they’ve never even reached out. I’ll explain more about that later.
Of course, I’m not here to bring up old complaints. This time I want to focus my frustrations on one single ISP: AT&T. Let me take you on a journey of my experience with AT&T.
Life in Atlanta
As mentioned in my previous article, I hadn’t purchased internet service from AT&T until I moved to Atlanta. At that point, I had two comparable choices: AT&T and XFinity. After doing a little research, I settled on AT&T who offered a pretty massive upgrade to my previous Time Warner Cable service.
Unfortunately, I was little let down once I realized that AT&T provides their own modems and routers. I had recently purchased my own in Erie because the ones provided by Time Warner Cable were bad. So, I basically threw away $180 on equipment after the move.
Over the course of the year, however, I was very satisfied with the AT&T service. That’s probably why I’ve been so unhappy since moving to Columbus. Let’s chat about it.
Questionable Internet Speeds
In 2018, the absolute best AT&T had to offer in my area in Columbus was 18 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up. Naturally, that was quite the downgrade from the 50 Mbps down I was getting in Atlanta.
To make matters worse, they conned me into a contract after the move by giving me cheaper service for a year. Little did I know, that “deal” binds me to a contract that ends up being quite expensive if I break it.
In other words, I’m locked in for the long haul, so I guess I just have to deal with it. Of course, I’m not going to go without a fight as shown by this article.
A few months into dealing with AT&T’s terrible internet service, I noticed a $150 charge on my upcoming bill. At first, I thought maybe this was a late fee because their own autopay serviced had failed previously. Luckily, that wasn’t it.
Instead, they decided to charge me $150 for not returning my equipment. This was the same equipment they told me to take directly from Atlanta to Columbus, and suddenly they decided they wanted it back.
After calling, they agreed the charge was a mistake, and they credited me the $150. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get off that easily. Over the span of a single call, they managed to “sell” me on their DirectTV Now service. Because I’m nice, I decided to take the free trial even though I didn’t want the service.
Forty-five minutes later, they finally had the service properly signed up which I promptly cancelled to avoid any additional phantom charges.
Toward the end of dealing with customer service, I decided to ask them if they could do anything to improve my internet service. At which point, they forwarded me to tech support. Of course, I didn’t have anymore time as they just managed to waste nearly an hour of it.
Later, I called again. Within five minutes, all they could do was “put in a note.” In frustration, I turned around and called the local AT&T store hoping for some better news. After explaining my issue, they responded “we’re a local store; we aren’t told anything ever.”
At that point, I caved and called one of their competitors: WOW. Within minutes, they explained to me that “[they] don’t have any internet at our property but, [they] have 1000 Mbps across the street.” Talk about getting the shaft.
Naturally, I wanted to know more, so I asked why they didn’t have any service at my apartment complex. They told me that it was likely that AT&T held some sort of contract with my property manager to essentially monopolize the apartments. In other words, I have no other options. I’m not sure that’s legal, and I’m also not sure who I’m more frustrated with at this point: my property manager or AT&T.
After playing phone tag, I decided to complain to social media which quickly prompted an AT&T agent to reach out. Ironically, AT&T has a Twitter account called AT&T Cares which handles their social media complaints.
Within minutes, one of their representatives slid into my DMs asking how they could help. Hmm, I don’t know? Maybe you could provide internet service that isn’t a steaming pile of garbage.
After chatting for a short time, they forced me to migrate over to their own AT&T chat service. Eventually, I was contacted by another rep who directed me to some form where I could request better service.
Since filling it out nearly two months ago, I haven’t heard a damn thing. It’s like my request went straight to oblivion.
Moral of the Story
When working with giant telecommunications companies, don’t expect them to care about your needs. They don’t. After all, they want to destroy net neutrality, so they can monetize even more of the internet.
If you’ve had problems with your ISP in the past, let me know in the comments. I’d love to put together a little collection of complaints to see if anything can be done. At the very least, I’d feel better knowing that others have struggled as well.
I don't like to share about personal stuff too much, but I figured I'd share some early news of 2021.
Today, I'm whipping out some philosophy jargon to characterize some of the problems I see in the tech education community.