Mar 24 2014
09:03 am

AT&T put out a press release claiming they have invested $1.3 billion in Tennessee's communications infrastructure. The press release touts expanded access to 4G, wi-fi, broadband and cable.

Perhaps as payback for the hundreds of thousands of dollars AT&T spent lobbying for statewide cable franchise approval (which pretty much eliminated local control), both Lt. (real) Gov. and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell give AT&T glowing praise for helping grow the economy and create jobs in Tennessee.

The timing is interesting, too. Legislators can't campaign or do any fundraising while in session. But some free advertising from one of their corporate benefactors is A-OK, I guess? (Is that even legal?)

Anyway, the new rules have been in place for about three years now. I haven't noticed any new competition. We still have exactly one internet/cable provider and one land line phone company (not counting the cable company's VOIP offering, which we already had before the bill passed.) In fact, our local government begged AT&T to come make a proposal (also before the new law). AT&T declined and hasn't been heard from since.

So has anyone seen more competition and/or better offerings in your area in the last three years? Anyone? Bueller?

The press release: AT&T Invests Nearly $1.3 Billion Over Three Year Period To Enhance Local Networks In Tennessee

Joe328's picture

Fiber Optics was their pitch

Fiber Optics was their pitch when they visited our neighborhood over a year ago. Several neighbors, including myself, signed up after AT&T stated that fiber optics was available to the home. After learning it was the same old copper wire installed 40 years ago with numerous repairs, most everyone canceled. I haven't had a land line in more than 10 years and never will.

xmd's picture

Well I do have WOW available

Well I do have WOW available now but have not taken them up on their offer. I have several friends that now use ATT U-Verse and switched.

fischbobber's picture


Yes they're offered here. We have access to WOW, Comcast and ATT. I've used all three. Currently with ATT since the office folks at WOW entered the "Who can be the biggest asshole in the industry?" sweepstakes. When I left they were winning.

I'm currently in the honeymoon phase with ATT. More cable, same land line and faster internet for slightly less money. Talk to me after the honeymoon and I'll let you know about their long term commitment to keeping customers.

yellowdog's picture

monopolies are great for those that have one

We cannot get the (only) cable company or ATT to provide any broadband access via a wire of any kind. For cable, we are too far from the road. For ATT, we are too far from their switching equipment (for Uverse) and they will not offer us any other wired option. Our only option is wireless, which is metered and not all that great. We use cell technologies: a cell phone as a hot spot and an "air card" for internet access. It sucks.

All the wireless is metered, so using Netflix or watching any streamed content costs a bunch.

We live on a major federal highway in a community 7 miles from Maryville. People near us have access to Uverse. Not us.

When ATT and BellSouth were allowed to merge, they promised broadband access to everyone. Turns out "everyone" meant 90% in the final enabling language and broadband access meant unstable metered wireless.

It is like being in a second rate country.

mjw's picture

Cable for the first time ever

I signed up with ATT UVerse this year after they became the first cable provider to offer service to my house ever. I was particularly intrigued when they announced that they could serve TV over a wireless connection since I've never had 75-ohm cable run in my house (since what was the point).

And I have to say they went above and beyond. I wasn't sure the standard twisted pair that has served my house for thirty-odd years would work. I thought they'd show up and then tell me there was nothing they could do. So they showed up, then ran a quarter mile of new upgraded copper to my house in the space of a day. It's not FIOS, but I don't really care, as I was able to get cable, phone and triple my high-end DSL speed (with some upside in the offerings if I want to throw more money at them) over the new copper plant.

I've never been a big AT&T fan, I had no end of problems with them when they took over from Bellsouth, but if you can get it, UVerse is a solid offering. And the deals they have going to get people to switch are outstanding. I'm getting a pile of channels (including all the HBOs, Showtimes, Encores and TMCs), with HD for almost everything, plus triple my Internet speed and free long distance, on two TVs with a quite nice (if not TiVo-nice) DVR system that can feed programs to my phone or tablet if I want for all of about $60 more per month than I was paying for my landline and DSL. The deal lasts for two years, and they paid me an up-front incentive bonus on top of it.

I'll probably dump some channels when my two years is up and maybe trim the Internet (or not). But I have to say, it's been worth the money and will be worth the increase. (Loving my HBOGo!)

yellowdog's picture


Do they offer MLB Extra Innings, which DirecTV does, so you can watch baseball other than ESPN?

ATT thought they could offer us UVerse until they showed up with the stuff and "learned" we are too far away from their switches.

I would think they should be required to offer all of us access, as they would be if this were regulated the way it should be. It is all about the money. Their techs tell us they could do this if they wanted to, or were made to.

I bet if Haslam's Blackberry Farm hideout were too far from the switches, they'd move the switches.

mjw's picture


They have the MLB Network on their higher end bundles (300 or above). It's not a full ticket offering like Extra Innings, just one channel. The have a full ticket offering for the NBA, but I think Extra Innings is exclusive to DirecTV.

I'm not a baseball fan, so it wasn't a consideration for me. I like to listen to the UT games now and again on the radio, but that's a different experience.

Cable is mostly a racket. Near as I can tell in most localities, local control wasn't any better for the consumer than state control is. The cable companies just do what they want anyway. But I'm enjoying my deal while I have it.

Finn Mattson's picture

Anyone remember subsidies and

Anyone remember subsidies and concessions AT&T got as a result of the Clinton-Gore "National Infrastructure Initiative"? Here's a reminder: (link...) and here: (link...) ... With politicians in their pocket, AT&T can continue fleecing America with impunity.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is used to make sure you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.


TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

State .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Monthly archive