Why AT&T’s $10 DSL Matters
My vacation to Alabama was an eye-opening experience on many fronts. Perhaps one of the most amazing things was seeing just how many Wal-Marts there are here. Instead of people whining about how Wal-Mart wrecks things for small businesses, people shop there in droves. People buy everything there, including their groceries. It’s an institution.
Why is that? Between things just getting more expensive thanks to rising fuel costs and people’s general inability to handle their finances properly, many families are living paycheck to paycheck hoping a major financial catastrophe doesn’t strike! Internet access, if they know what it is, isn’t considered a necessity. The pricing doesn’t help.
During this vacation, I set our friends up with the Internet channel on the Wii. Their Wii was getting access to the Internet–albeit intermittently–thanks to a neighbor’s open WiFi access point. $5 opened that connection to the wonders of the Internet.
They knew about the Internet, of course. How could they not? Problem was, their computer is non-functional and Internet access itself not viewed as affordable. When needed, it could be obtained at work or the library.
$10/mo DSL at a pathetic speed (768/128) may not seem like such a great deal. In some respects, it’s not. If you’ve got no Internet access at all at home and you’re financially strapped, cheap Internet access is better than none.
The $10/mo DSL price is an unadvertised, online only price for people who live in the former Bellsouth areas. While I don’t think that’s entirely fair of AT&T to require Internet access to sign up for cheap access, nor do they do anything to let people know these plans even exist, at least it’s there.
Of course, there are many one-time expenses here: modem, DSL filters, and networking gear. Call it about $100 or so upfront. If you know what to get, anyway, which is yet another hurdle to this process.
Personally, if you know someone in the former Bellsouth markets who needs to get online, this is a great deal. Sign them up, give them whatever help they need to get them online! If they don’t even have a computer, but have a recent game console, you can still get on the Internet!
I know this isn’t the most optimal way–or speed–to access the Internet. Let’s get real and figure out what the cheapest way is to get the masses online. Even if the experience is not optimal, once the masses experience the convenience of the Internet in their own home, they’ll pay for it–especially if it’s affordable.
In fact, it’s exactly what my friends did–they had me order the $10 DSL deal for them. Having a taste of the Internet at home–even through the myopic view of the Opera-based browser on the Wii–they wanted their own connection. At $10/mo, that suddenly becomes a possibility.
Anything that lowers the barrier to entry onto the information superhighway is a good thing. AT&T’s $10/mo DSL deal, while it could be better in so many ways, is a small step in the right direction.