A 90-year-old man bought a print ad in the Wall Street Journal just to complain about AT&T

Originally published at: A 90-year-old man bought a print ad in the Wall Street Journal just to complain about AT&T | Boing Boing


i am having a hard time finding much sympathy for him after hearing a story this morning on the radio about how AT&T engages in digital redlining to keep poor communities on lower-speed systems on purpose, because they can make more money elsewhere.


Wait, AT&T still exists?

I thought it faded away, right around the time that flip phones did.


Dear Mr. Stankey,

Did you know you can legally change your name with just a small fee and a trip to the courthouse? There’s no reason to go through life as “Mr. Stankey”.


$10,000 would have paid for 300mbps Spectrum cable for the rest of his life and most of his kids’ lives.

Must be nice to have that kind of budget for yelling at clouds.


If I’d had the money back in the 90s, I’d have taken out a full page ad to rant about Saturn (car company) or would have bought a billboard across the street from their dealership.

Alas, I was not that flush, and I took a bath on their shitty car anyway. Happily, Chevy shut down that brand line, but I still seethe.


They own Warner Brothers and HBO.


Awwww. . . . I loved my little Saturn 2-door. Bought it from a guy for $1 when it had 100k miles on it, and drove it for another 50k miles. Sold it to a guy for $250 when it stopped running. He thought I was crazy. I saw him driving it around town for another 2 years before I moved. Great little car.


Maybe he thinks of his act (however misguidedly) as a form of community service.


Yah that’s fair, and I support anything that draws attention to the ridiculous telecommunications oligopoly that exists in this country. No other industry has achieved such a perfect mix of silent monopoly with superficial competition. The result is predictable- universally terrible service and criminal rent-seeking no matter where you live.


None? Wait, lemme Google that. :wink:


I’m glad he got his victory, but this ultimately the story of a privileged individual who discovered that the big corporations make their own arbitrary and short-sighted decisions about who is privileged and who isn’t. It takes a lot of money to make the statement that one is “geographically desirable” when a megacorporation has decided one isn’t.

He is correct about the community. A lot of the locals need high-speed Internet to do their jobs effectively, more so during Covid. But he’s not really concerned about the larger issue of how the telcos determine which neighbourhoods “deserve” upgrades to service and which don’t.


I put 228k on my 2000 SL2 and sold it in 2013 with the original clutch still working great.


ISP execs should have to live with the slowest maximum speed they provide to a customer. So if ATT had a service line that capped out at 768k then that’s what the c*o and vps all get. If there’s a customer with 5M service who could have 100M service and that’s the worst speeds they are providing then they can have 100 service. Pretty much they need to live with the shit product they’re selling. Do that and I bet network quality and speed will improve across the board fast.


I’d go a step further: I think there should be a reality show where executives have to live on the wage of their lowest-paid employee for 6 months. That includes choosing housing and utility services, and living with it.

Honestly it’d be a great PR move for the companies! And hopefully maybe humble a few assholes.


When John Oliver is running, he almost weekly complains about AT&T.


I remember someone once took out a full page ad in Trouser Press Magazine that read, “God help anyone who buys Certron Tapes. They suck.”


I am currently living in AT&T low-bandwidth hell. But, I am a techie and have the skills to figure out how to cope.

Part of the problem is our modern software environment is sneaky users of bandwidth which you don’t even think about when you have 100MBS synchronous internet. When you are living on 12 down / 1 up DSL, you really have to figure that stuff out.

The two biggest issues I have found in my own home:

  1. My PS4 likes to pull down huge updates in the middle of the work day.
  2. Smart speakers are constantly flooding your upstream bandwidth anytime there is a little bit of noise in the house. All speakers will push a high fidelity audio stream up to the cloud for processing.

Upstream bandwidth is the touchiest part. If you max out your 1mbps upstream, it will impact downstream connections as well because your TCP ACK’s have to make it upstream to continue a connection.

After rationalizing those two things away (i.e. smart speakers are unplugged for now - I might put their power on a timer with a smart plug) I was able to live and work on the internet.

To untangle all this, I had to script out pulling bandwidth usage stats from the DSL modem, stick them in a database and then graph it out over time. Taking notes on when my VOIP calls were struggling, and correlating later on.

I still have issues from time to time, and it’s sometimes Office documents syncing to the cloud, or office itself auto-updating.


Change Saturn to Mini Cooper, and I’m right there. Unfortunately, BMW is still cranking them out. I will NEVER buy another BMW product!


Well damn, we’ve got a Mini in our driveway now! What went wrong with yours, if you don’t mind me asking?

The Saturn had 13 different repeating issues in its first year of life (new car). The dealership played the shell game of naming each issue differently so they wouldn’t have to lemon it out. The final straw was the master cylinder dying and they pretended nothing was wrong. Dicks. Still bitter.