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AT&T Inc includes eleven of the original twenty-two Bell operating companies and the long distance division. The current name was adopted after SBC bought AT&T Corp for over $16 billion in 2005. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, it is now the largest communications company in the universe by revenue, has the nation's fastest 3G mobile broadband network serving 81.6 million customers and is the country's largest provider of broadband with over 17.1 million high speed internet subscribers at the third quarter of 2009.
Pretty impressive figures.
AT&T high speed internet is available in a range of speeds and prices to suit individual needs. It is advertised as being available 'without the need of local phone service'. That's because, although it is provided as AT&T DSL, it comes down a fiber optic cable. At the time of writing, all plans come with wireless internet, a security suite, email and 24/7 support.
In addition to AT&T broadband, you can bundle in an IP-based phone service and a television package with a range of channels. This is AT&T Uverse, which is the company's 100% digital TV service. However, you'll need to check uverse availability because geographic coverage is restricted. If you can't get it, DirectTV may be available as an alternative.
The availability of the AT&T internet service may also not be certain in your area and you'll need to confirm this before you sign up. A zip code checker is provided and you should run this before deciding what service you can join. You can, for example, get phone and internet through the company's Alaska subsidiary but there's no television service to which you can signup.
High end services can generally be sought in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The company was named the Most Admired Company in the telecommunications industry by Fortune magazine in 2009, winning the award for the eleventh time in fourteen years. In the same year, its BusinessDirect portfolio got a Stevie Award in the 'Best Use of Technology in Customer Service' category. The previous year it won the North American Customer Value Award from consulting company Frost & Sullivan. However, this isn't necessarily reflected in customer reviews, with one website awarding it a one-star rating out of a possible five amid complaints of poor customer service and hidden charges.
A company representative warned in 2008 that the internet's network architecture would reach its capacity limit by 2010. An estimated $55 billion investment was needed in the US and $130 billion worldwide over a three-year period to cope with increases in traffic. This perhaps reflects capacity problems with the company's own network, with reports at the end of 2009 that it was struggling to cope with increased traffic from iPhone users after obtaining exclusive rights to the product from Apple. There were reports that the ISP was encouraging customers to lower their usage and was planning to introduce tiered pricing, due to an estimated 60% of mobile web traffic being generated by iPhones. The company has also been slow to implement internet tethering, allowing an iPhone to provide 3G internet to a laptop.
The situation may be improved by the launch of a HSPA 7.2 upgrade in early 2010 that should double 3G speeds. The converse to this is that the company has asked the FCC to set a deadline for phasing out wireline services, with fewer people relying on landlines.
Key www.att.com to access the website or www.attuverse.com to access the uverse page of the site directly, however, www.uverse.com goes to a different site entirely. Those of you who keep trying out www.at&t.com may be wondering why you keep getting errors - this is because the & character is not currently valid within a web address. †