In the last five years alone, AT&T has been fined $ 18.6 million for sponsoring and supporting programs for the deaf. $ 10.4 million penalties for violating low-income family programs; the US $ 105 million fine for helping crammers, who knowingly make false charges on customer accounts more difficult to manage; and a $ 60 million fine for misleading customers about the meaning of “unlimited” data. These are just a few of AT&T’s experiences when it comes to administrative failure. In most cases, AT&T lawyers can lessen or suspend fines after years of trial.
The latest AT&T rumor, like everything else, won’t make very sensuous captions, but it’s that bad. Theodore Marcus, the lawyer for AT&T, appeared this week to blame the telecom giant for systematically slaying American schools within the FCC’s E-rate program. According to Marcus, this has been going on for years and superintends to harm schools in the most marginalized areas in the country. And when he told AT&T officials about it, they didn’t do … anything:
The FCC E-Rate plans do an excellent job of keeping communication and broadband access to the country’s school systems. Launched in 1996, this plan pays a small tax on telephone bills. Under the plans, telecommunications service providers impose the “lowest corresponding price” or LCP, which is described as the normal rate this subscriber can pay for broadband access under the Telecommunications Act. But the FCC often does little work with the police porters in charge of whether they comply or not.
According to Marcus, AT&T hasn’t done this in years and is carefully overvaluing school districts for co-operations. This, in shift, restricts the number of schools that can sustain services and finishes in America’s poor training for the COVID crisis:AT&T acknowledged, as has the trend, by completely marking its former lawyer a dissatisfied liar.
Of course, for a corporation like AT&T that thinks it will help con artists finish their customers for years, “internal review” means nothing. Also, the fact that the US government, largely in the back pocket of AT&T lobbyists for nearly a period, did not bother to sue AT&T for the powerful scam of the program.
The Post even managed to get former FCC chief Tom Wheeler to admit that the agency knew AT&T had been doing these things for a decade but couldn’t afford (on either side) the Agency to enforce its own rules:
Over here isn’t any one-off; both AT&T and Verizon were recently penalized $116 million for cheating government agencies in California for decades. AT&T was also just claimed by DC for the same thing. Then there’s this rumor in Mississippi, wherever AT&T is being accused of using taxpayer funds for networks it never used. And this is on top of AT&T’s rather regular guide of splitting off its customers as well. So yeah, it’s set of hard to give AT&T the advantage of the doubt.
Given because AT&T is completely bone associated with our intelligence (and now law enforcement systems via FirstNet), it nevermore sees much in the way of actual responsibility for anything. At the same time, AT&T has finally made a hugely successful and not so subtle war on government error, happening in national and state controls that are underfunded, underpowered, and incapable of actually doing battle with the giant.
The narrative is then built that the problem is always government, and not that we’ve let unaccountable telecom monopolies run amok for the better part of a generation, resulting in entirely predictable and avoidable outcomes you wouldn’t see in a market with healthy competition and competent, uncorrupted oversight.