Is AT&T Run by Clowns, Idiots, or Both?

Is AT&T run by clowns, idiots, or both?  That question was raised by a recent letter (below).  I’d like to summarize its contents, but frankly I’m not even sure what the company is trying to sell me.  In the first paragraph they seem to think I’m a current customer.  Wrong.  We kicked uVerse out of our home office at the end of January.  (Unsolicited plug for, giving us terrific internet and customer service.)  But in the second paragraph they invite me to rejoin uVerse.

We left uVerse because, frankly, the service was terrible.  We were forced to switch from our ancient AT&T DSL modem to a router.  The router was actually quite nice, a Pace model 5031NV. Except it wasn’t.  The geniuses at AT&T had removed about half the router’s brain.  Specifically, there was no command-line interface, a recommended way to get the router into bridge mode.

Let me back up and remind newcomers about our network setup.  We have a SonicWall TZ-200W security router that has protected our home office network from incredible volumes of malware.  Most of our network is connected through the SonicWall.  But the SonicWall needs to connect to the internet.  All we need, want, and desire is a simple DSL modem.  Instead we got uVerse, complete with data rate throttling, constant signal drops, and a host of other defects.  Calls to tech support were laughable.  I have a transcript of an online chat session that ends with the “tech support rep” offering to reset my password.  (Transcript available on request via e-mail attachment.)

So, instead, we got uVerse, complete with a brain-dead router, continuous DNS drops, and service that was unreliable (to put it mildly).  We put up with uVerse because I use the internet to manage classes I’m teaching and we didn’t want an interruption until late December, 2013.  But once we got to that point it was, “Bye-bye uVerse,welcome”

Which brings me back to the latest letter from AT&T.  You may not be able to read the image below.  If that’s a problem, click here for a pdf file that should work.

AT&T Letter

AT&T Letter

So the question remains: is AT&T run by clowns, idiots, or both?


About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos

2 Replies to “Is AT&T Run by Clowns, Idiots, or Both?”

  1. Linda Claudine

    Ha ha ha. That is a rhetorical question yes? They are greedy and don’t care. They pay the support first level next to nothing and just give them a script to read. But even the next step isn’t much better. But not the fault of the idiot who wanted to reset password – that’s on his script and he can’t deviate much. I dislike them and all ISPs intensely – they do not protect us and will allow the terrorists in to take down our grid. Someone needs to clue Trump in on where the wall needs to be – a decent firewall!

    1. Tony Lima Post author

      Agree 100 percent. Don’t know where you’re physically located, but out of Santa Rosa gives terrific service. They are essentially an intermediary between you and AT&T. One huge difference: you don’t have to negotiate AT&T’s incredibly cumbersome and dense websites. Usual disclaimers — we pay every month for our service.


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