AT&T

Okay, so considering the market fiasco currently going on, when I read that AT&T is going to layoff 12,000 I was appalled.  That all of these financial geniuses haven’t realized the true crux of this issue is amazing.  Keep giving the people who created this mess more money, yeah that will help. 

So, when I moved into my new digs one of the issues I debated was which service to use for TV, Internet and Phone.  I had been a faithful customer of a Cable company but the rates kept going up, they advertise these great rates but the kicker is you have to sign a 2 year contract, and getting customer service was awful (hmmmm why? because the rich execs need to cut “costs” and we can rely on the majority of our customers just putting up with it so lets cut the human factor from our expenses).  I planned on transferring my service.  To make a long story short, of three installation appointments a Time Warner Cable representative never darkened my door.  One of the contractors showed up a few weeks later with the new Data/Voice modem.  Matter of fact I had several of their cables (to my house as well as neighbors) running through my yard and they refused to bury them until I threatened to cut them.

I have read about UVerse, and being a geek it was intriguing.  Somehow my development is within this 2% area that is covered by their full UVerse (IPTV) service.  They offered some lucrative incentives to go with their service and there was not contract.  In general it is cheaper, and the longer I have it they are really proving you get what you pay for.

My cable wasn’t perfect but…. Despite claims of Fiber Optic networks, the service is just DSL, only now you are strapping TV, Data and Voice over it.  At least once a week, you will hear this click sound, TV freezes, computers all show limited connectivity… check out their Residential Gateway and all of the LEDs are out except for the little red one.  Eventually a follow-up click sounds and lights start blinking…. the process of coming back online takes about 10 minutes….. okay some details of issues with this service:

Residential Gateway:

  • The installation technician commented that these units are older but we install them and they will keep supporting them but in other areas they are installing newer equipment.
  • The wireless capabilities, as one would expect with a two year old device, are not current. Yes I was spoiled with my N Draft router but the upside of my previous provider was they just brought the bandwidth to your door, if you wanted them to provide wireless that is an option. With this service you have to kluge your equipment, if possible, to act as a secondary Access Point.
  • Every time a computer starts up and connects to the network, the TV breaks up briefly.
  • Not Gateway specific but it is configured at the Residential Gateway; network firewall is mandatory, not an option!!!!! If you want to use your own firewall you can only turn it off for one device.
  • The DHCP service just stops responding, this is not occasionally it is almost weekly.

TV

· The commercial claims you can record 4 programs simultaneously; check the extremely small print and you will see that does not apply if you are recording HD programs. If I have HD, why wouldn’t I be recording the HD format?

· Remote Control; it is the same you can buy at any big box store yet they advertise it as a benefit of their service. Comparing it to my previous provider’s product there is a serious omission. It may seem like a small issue but considering the number of channels (not to mention their menu allows you to add channels to it) having a “Favorites” button so you can easily get to the channels you frequently watch.

Voice

  • Sound quality is awful.
  • No Caller-ID on TV where I live.

Internet

  • A few already covered above in the Gateway section.
  • To access your account (e-mail, Voice Call History, etc…) you have to use Yahoo. Once again proof this is just DSL because it is all remnants of SBC/Yahoo.
  • This is probably more gateway but… non-OS specific since I run XP, Vista and Linux; when the signal gets dropped, and then returns and despite the computer showing valid IP information they can not re-establish a connection to the internet until they are rebooted. Again not OS, because after rebooted the network configuration is still the same but internet is back online for that computer.
  • Not just UVerse but a sore point…. They offer different levels of service which equates to higher bandwidth but the marketing really is deceiving. They make the “Download speeds” seem so appealing and a few years ago that was the key benchmark. However with digital media so convenient the Upload speeds are just as, if not more, important. I understand the technical limitations that keep providers from giving equal upload and download speeds but it is a marketing ploy.

I am sure I left a few off. 

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