AT&T Petitions to Slash Alabama Telephone Directories

AT&T payphone signage

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Perhaps that most meaningful request to originate from the so-called leaner AT&T. I would venture to guess many people across the country no longer use phone books. I have witnessed the real-time shrinkage of the Yellow Pages content in S.E Mich. The once monstrous Yellow Pages and White Pages are now condensed into one publication, roughly 1/3 of the size.

Moreover, it would seem that the overwhelming popularity of cellular phones, online phone directories, and search engines have marginalized the utility of hard copy phone listings. Hell, I have not used a POTS line in my home since 2002. Strictly cellular and VoIP in my household.

If AT&T wishes to be truly lean, it should probably stop printing these books. However, it appears that they are mandated local Public Service Commissions.

Bob Frankston has a very interesting assessment of the pickle AT&T has found themselves. He isn't all too sympathetic either :-) See his excerpt below.

This sounds like a great deal. If ATT wants to hand over their copper physical plant to communities to use as a resource I would take them up on their offer immediately.

The communities can then hire companies to "light" it up as DSL using 2010 electronics (100Mbps per pair or higher). This is divestiture II done right.

And without being shackled by the 19th century telegraphy idea of charging services we'd be able to achieve Ambient Connectivity (http://rmf.vc/?n=IAC) with or without wires!

He raises some valid points about the greed associated with PSTN and the general disdain that AT&T now has for all of its copper networks. What are they to do with the millions of copper lines running across the US?
Allowing municipalities to purchase the copper lines would be one method of disrupting the stranglehold that wireless carriers have on consumers. Imagine what would happen if there was added competition? True free market model at its best, not a simple oligarchy of a few dominant wireless carriers as we have today.

Though I often worry about the new GOOG, they seem to looking off into the future and strongly considering muni-fiber networks.
*Aside* - AT&T also owns its fair share of dark fiber too, perhaps they'll suffocate on the vast stretches of fiber before they figure out how to really benefit from it. It does appear that the venerable MaBell wants to get out of the telephony infrastructure business and leap into the VoIP service arena. It would seem that there is much more profits to be made offering services for the next growth market. POTS is dying a slow death, and any left holding onto a service level agreement that is laden with PSTN is plain foolish. IP vs. Dark Fiber is another topic for another

I have long been a proponent of muni-fiber (citizen owned fiber networks) efforts. Sadly, there just are not enough viable muni-fiber projects in this country.

I long for the day that FTTH is commonplace and de-regulated so that people could have choice.
At this point, greed and arrogance is very pervasive in the leadership ranks of the wireless carriers, that innovation is essentially stifled in this country. The other issue is that most Americans are not really familiar with the technology or their rights for access. So-called developing nations (ie China and South Africa) have more infrastructure problems but have far better connectivity (albeit prohibitively expensive in certain areas). The point here is that the US must figure out a means to totally disrupt the existing data delivery model paradigm. It really takes courage and money.

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on March 8, 2010 5:13 AM.

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