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A response to AT&T’s letter
By Michael Lewis
Editor's note: Lewis, like many Valley residents and visitors whose cell service is provided by AT&T, received a letter from Steve Krom, the provider's new VP and GM, last week. Lewis responds below.
Please see comments below in response to the letter I just received from you:
AT&T: My name is Steve Krom, and I'm the Vice President and General Manager for AT&T in the New England area. I know you have a choice when it comes to wireless service, and I'd like to take a moment to say thank you for choosing AT&T.
Lewis: I wish I could say I chose AT&T. I had no choice. AT&T was the only option available. That’s changing, though.
AT&T: We strive to deliver a wireless service that lets you connect with everything that matters. With New England's largest 4G network, you're covered with fast download speeds.
Lewis: Not my part of New England (Waitsfield/Warren, VT)! There is barely 3G here, never mind 4G!
AT&T: And since everyone's needs are different, we've got the fairest and most flexible rate plans, so you can choose the one that's right for you. Also, AT&T's network lets you talk and surf the Web at the same time. This means you can keep the conversation going while you do things Iike update your status, get directions or check the weather.
Lewis: If we could get a signal in the first place!
AT&T: You deserve the best possible wireless experience…
Lewis: Funny! That’s how we all feel when we pay our monthly AT&T bills. If only it were the case.
AT&T: …which is why we've made some big improvements throughout New England.
Lewis: Not that we can see! Only recently, was someone here able to get a tech support person to admit that the equipment on your cell towers here is not working properly. As far as I know, nothing has been done about it. Still.
AT&T: Our ongoing drive to improve our voice and data network is paying off in strong service performance, with the fastest mobile broadband in Vermont.
Lewis: Again, not in the Mad River Valley!
AT&T: And we will keep working to make it even better.
Lewis: Here in the Mad River Valley, we just keep hoping you’ll make it as good as it was a couple of years ago. Since that time it has gotten progressively worse. And no amount of contact by me – or many people I know – seems to change that. I guess we don’t represent enough revenue to AT&T for you to care about it.
AT&T: While we're focused on bringing you exciting new devices and more ways to connect, we also understand the importance of investing in the communities where our customers live and work. As part of our "It Can Wait" campaign, which educates our customers about the dangers of texting while driving, we brought virtual reality driving simulators to local high schools to let teen drivers experience how texting impacts driving safety. It's helped start conversations and shift perspectives about texting behind the wheel. You can learn more and get involved at itcanwait.com.
Lewis: A wonderful, altruistic thing to do (and great PR for AT&T). I just wish you’d focus on getting us decent service so that texting would be a problem we could have.
AT&T: I appreciate the opportunity you have given us to serve your communication needs. We are grateful for this privilege and we promise to keep working hard to earn your business every day.
Lewis: I wish you would. I’m ready for you to start. Been waiting for years. And still, nothing gets done about the quality or availability of service here.
The only way I get a signal at home is with a 3G Micro Cell. For most of the way between home and town (Waitsfield), I have no cell signal. In town, the signal is spotty at best. Can’t get a signal inside a building. Have to walk outside to get a bar or two. Calls are dropped constantly. In fact, a friend of mine called support to complain and his call was dropped several times during that conversation!
VERIZON WIRELESS is lighting up Central Vermont! I expect, before long, you will see a mass exodus of Vermont customers as they go to Verizon for decent service.
Good luck with that amazing cell service you profess to provide. Soon you may be the only one using it.
Lewis lives in Warren and operates Downhill Media.