Windstream is asking the FCC if they could stop serving a number of different services through copper lines (or DSL) in several parts of the country. Specifically, Windstream is asking that they turn off the ability of customers use operator assisted calls requesting Bill to a Third Number, Busy Line Verify, Busy Line Interrupt, Collect Calling, and Person to Person. Recently, AT&T asked the FCC for permission to also discontinue several services by the middle of March.
According to AT&T and Windstream, nobody uses these services and that customers are replacing “legacy services like collect calling with VoIP and mobile services that enable users to connect.”
AT&T and Windstream are correct that customers are using other services to replace a number of phone features. What AT&T and Windstream leave out is that they have been pushing all copper customer OFF their current plans for years now. After years of leaving copper wires to rot while making millions off the customers and local/state governments, the companies simply want to move their profits over to other parts of their business.
AT&T has made it well-known that they want all of their copper customers off their plans and onto their more expensive, data-capped wireless plans. AT&T has been going to a number of states handing out money to politicians in the hopes of gutting all consumer protections for copper line customers. Verizon caught substantially public backlash after they used Hurricane Sandy to claim that they shouldn’t be forced to rebuild destroyed copper lines since Verizon offered wireless services that were better….and much more expensive.
It wasn’t that long ago that Windstream was forced to make a public statement about the sheer volume of complaints that customers were giving them. In fact, as DSLReports noted several months ago, “FCC data shows Windstream is one of the worst ISPs in the country at actually delivering advertised speeds“.
It should also be noted that whenever AT&T and Verizon go to a state and promise everyone about all of the wonderful things that will occur if they don’t have to service copper customers, they have yet to fulfill a single promise made to any state. Seriously, not one.