Friday, December 18, 2009

Did AT&T Win the Battle for Operation Chokehold But Lose the War?

As the dust settles after today's iPhone cyber protest here is an excellent quote from one unhappy AT&T customer on the Operation Chokehold Facebook page:

"Mend Stern Yes AT&T Survived, But now that we have this much press its time for round 2, hopefully they will take note and invest in their network, rather then spending it on sloppy ad campaigns…

AT&T had an opportunity when they signed an exclusivity contract with apple to showcase their network to a huge new customer base, an
d they squandered it relying on the fact that they had an exclusive contract, instead of seizing the opportunity to impress this new base, Like slumlords they decided to whore-out the network cramming in as many users with as little maintenance as possible, they completely missed the point and acted like an old crusty conglomerate, it may be too late for them to repair their relationship with their customer base…"

AT&T flacks, with the help of paid bloggers and others with a vested interest in the status quo, have tried to paint the protesters as just a bunch of crazy malcontents. But the statement above shows that many are very smart people with well thought out arguments as to how AT&T abused it's power, hurt it's customers and frankly the United States. As a nation we are last in the world in may key areas of internet service. It is a critical economic, educational and social issue, and AT&T must take at least part of the responsibility for the shameful state of our national communications infrastructure. Our major public tech corporations should be leading the world in proving the best service, not profiting as exploitive monopolies. AT&T should not be allowed to treat the United States like a banana republic and yet it does at it's own long term business peril. Meanwhile, customers have a write to openly and articulately protest as they did with Operation Chokehold.

Skeptics of Operation Chokehold pointed out early on that it's Facebook page only had about three hundred fans as of Tuesday. But the number quickly grew and as of today's protest it has 4,393. Which is not bad for a few days of promotion. It provides a pretty powerful mailing list to get people to write Congressmen for an Act II. Here's the link:

UPDATE/Dec. 19, 2009: The Operation Chokehold Facebook continues to gain fans even after the protest has finished. It's now up to 4,548 and still growing. And plans are being made for an Act II. Lots of interesting discussion about how to make even more of an impact.

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