No, AT&T is not paying me.
I’ve been using AT&T Uverse for about 8 months now. I’m very happy with the service and the features. I was actually a very loyal Cox subscriber for several years leading up to just a few months before canceling my service with them. We had internet and television service with them through 5 homes and 5 cities. Service was always great. Mind you, Service is not the same as Customer Service; I’ve never gotten great Customer Service with any cable or internet provider, until AT&T.
I was paying for Cox’s highest level of service, which evolved and occasionally had services added or improved. I was very happy with the features and especially the speed of the internet connection. Several months before I dropped them, I read articles about how they were going to be testing new “features” in certain test markets. A few weeks into it, I read that my town was one of the test markets. The last time I lived in a test market, it was very good for me. I was a beta tester for cable broadband; the only Mac beta tester in town. They had the throttle wide open for testing and gaming online was amazing, especially in the days when 56k had previously been the best option.
So, given this past experience, I wasn’t so worried about being a tester for Cox. I thought the worst case would be that I am without service on the rare occasion and I could call or submit a report and actually be of help to the improvements. I was wrong. Service was intermittent with television and the internet that I was paying so handsomely for was really slow. I was paying for the 12Mb connection. I know that 12Mb was the “best case scenario”, but over and over in my testing the best I could get was 1.2-1.5Mb down and a paltry 312k-1Mb up. There were no new features with the television, no new widgets or toys with the internet service, no letters explaining what was going on and no explanation or attempts to rectify the situation when I contacted them on several occasions.
Then along comes Uverse. I knew I wanted to leave Cox, just out of spite. I had relatives that had Dish/satellite and I didn’t care for that implementation. I haven’t had a home phone service in several years and I don’t intend to get it just for shooting a signal back to the ‘net for satellite internet service or for uploads with some of the other services that are available in our area. it took a few weeks to decide and a lot of research, but I was glad I took the plunge.
AT&T came and ran a fiber line from the street to my house, gave me all new equipment without rental fees and even wired it to a couple of locations without charging me for the work. Not a bad start.
Then I saw the interface on the DVR, the ability to record four channels at the same time (vs Cox’s max of 2), the quality of the HD channels and the integration of my Flikr, internet and cable TV accounts as well as its own iPhone app and portal website. I think there was only one drawback, and it might not even be a real drawback.
Parental Controls. I have always wanted a good way to protect the whole family from the internet-at-large but not eat up all my computer’s resources. AT&T has some decent software, but don’t install it on a machine that has to have any horse power left for photo manipulation or video compression. Install it on the kids’ machines and administer it from there; at least the kids will be the only ones having to deal with an app that asks for a password to do stuff and slows other apps down. Granted, the protection is there and Cox’s solution is down-right crude in comparison, but it could be better.
All in all, Uverse is wonderful. The few times I have had issues, they have been responsive and nice. One Sunday we woke to the kids complaining that the TV and internet was out. I ran a few simple tests of my own, cycled the power on the gateway and DVRs and nothing helped. I gave AT&T a call and got a real person. They sent TWO techs out to fix the problem; one guy for the stuff in the house and another for everything from the house to their box down the street. Turns out I live too close to the local AM radio station and that we had been having problems on our equipment since installation, but no serious outages. The guys installed filters on the equipment in the house and re-ran the wires in their own boxes to reduce the interference and we’ve had no issues since. They had everything fixed within a couple hours of our first call… on a Sunday morning.
What else is there to say?