Vox, a new "explain-the-news" website has put up this wonderful video explaining in very simple terms why internet access in the United States is horrible and why the government needs to step in and do something about it:
Why the Government Needs to Provide Internet Access
This is the problem for AT&T. It set off, as a matter of policy, many years ago to try to rebuild a communication monopoly that the government had correctly, and thankfully, broken up. That's their underlining goal and they seem determined to ignore the fact that they are playing with fire. They assumed that they can simply buy off politicians and the public will put up with third world country service at first world country prices. I just don't think it's going to work.
As Susan Crawford thoughtfully points out, this is bad for business and bad for America and the public is getting really angry about it. AT&T should have kept their heads low and built out their service to at least an acceptable level of quality/price. Instead, they have simply charged as much, or more, than the market will bare, while exploring every possible option to break net neutrality and double and triple dip.
This is the kind of thing that starts revolutions. People will rise up on issues that fundamentally effect their quality of life everyday. And internet access is critical to modern life. It doesn't help matters that many businesses are also fed up. The question is whether AT&T can change course soon enough to prosper in a world of competition. Right now it isn't looking like it will.