“Local” Phone Service

Everyone’s been there at some point. They move to a new area, call their favorite telephone company, and are informed that they don’t live in that brand’s coverage area, and must choose the alternative provider. At least everyone in California, I imagine. I somehow consistently move into a Verizon service area though I prefer AT&T. I just moved into an AT&T area and found out that even now I can’t get the AT&T products I want. Cell phones are just fine. I can choose either AT&T or Verizon for that. But for DSL or phone service, I am out of luck. Again.

I was surprised at how hard it is to search for land line service problems, or even the issue I am describing. Run a search on Google or Bing, and you get the same garbage about cellular services, not land line. I finally gave up on finding documentation, so this post is going to be based largely on my own experiences.

Telephones used to be rather simple devices. They were run as monopolies, but nobody seemed to mind. Then one day someone had the great idea of deregulation. In this process, or perhaps because of it, Ma Bell was broken into several pieces, AT&T being a benefactor. Somewhere along the road though things went terribly wrong. Who knows how long ago it started, but I have been dealing with it for the better part of a decade. I call my carrier of choice, then find out I have to choose the other guy, in this case Verizon. That is bad enough, but then I hear about a great fiber-optic service called FIOS, so I call up Verizon and try to sign up. I was politely told that FIOS was not available in my area. So, let me get this straight. I can’t choose AT&T because I live in a “Verizon area”. I can’t choose FIOS because it is not available in my “area”. What then, is my “area”, and why am I always in the wrong one?

The story on AT&T’s side is not much better, unfortunately. I get excited about finally getting into an “AT&T area” and call them up to sign up for this new bundle I’ve heard about. You guessed it, not available in my area. This happened years ago, and just happened again. U-Verse TV? Forget it. Not in my area. Bundle with my DirecTV? Nope, I had to sign up separately. The whole system is ridiculous. Why can’t I choose what services I want without Government (or corporate) red tape? Just let me pick my own services, thank you very much. If Verizon chokes out all its customers in a given area, so be it. If AT&T can’t keep a foothold, so be it. Let the market decide who survives. Monopolies are not a guaranteed outcome.

Now that I have vented a bit, I have couple recommendations. AT&T, don’t show U-Verse commercials endlessly when you know better than I do that I can’t get it. Same for you Verizon. FIOS is only worth seeing ads for if I can indeed purchase it. I don’t want to hear about another product I can’t get because it isn’t in my “area”. In the Internet Age, EVERY area is my area. Let’s get with the program folks.

Tags: , , , , ,

  • Jennifer

    Wait a minute! We have our directv bundled through AT&T… how is it that you can’t do the same?

  • http://jdpadgett.com Jared

    This is the second DirecTV/AT&T area I’ve been in. There was a problem the first time. This time I am waiting out my contract to switch to Dish Network just in time for Google TV to launch.

  • Kati

    We could have AT&T like you do Jen, but we want the UVerse they keep advertising for…I mean 4 shows recording to 1 DVR?!?! That would be SWEET! But alas…not in this aread. And once we saw the speeds for AT&T….there was no way we were going to switch from Time Warner. We get lightening fast internet through them here….

  • Jennifer

    Fair enough. But, remember, we still have Time Warner for Internet. Our Directv is bundled with our landline. :)