Thumbing my nose at AT&T

As our society becomes increasingly immeshed in the advance of technology, we’ve come to expect the price for this technology to drop over time. For whatever reason, internet access doesn’t follow that rule.

Ten years ago, I paid thirty dollars for my DSL and another five dollars for internet access on my cellular phone. Today, I pay $50 for my FiOS, $30 for my cell phone data plan, and $15 for Louise’s data plan (we have iPhones). On top of that we each pay $5 for our texting plans, something that according several reports I’ve read cost the phone companies essentially nothing to provide.

Granted, we now enjoy faster internet access and can do more with it, but I write this on a computer that cost a quarter of what I paid ten years ago and probably has ten times the power (if not more). Applying that ratio to my internet access, I shouldn’t  have to pay $100/month for access. I’d pay about $12.50.

Ten years ago, I read all about the coming of fiber and how we’d soon have far more available bandwidth than we’d ever dream of using. Well, fiber has arrived, and the cable companies tell us that we consume too much data, so prices must go up and access must be limited.

Jerks. I hate them.

So, yesterday I discovered some nifty little apps I could apply to my jailbroken iPhone so that all my calls and texts will route through the Google Voice service, whether on WiFi or 3G. Because I expect my minutes usage to drop, I changed our plan to the lowest offered. We had already amassed thousands of “rollover” minutes, which I expect we’ll lose thanks to the switch, but even at 700 minutes, both of us together rarely exceeded our limits. I can also drop my texting plan completely. Total savings: $15/month. And yes, it matters.

This also means a different phone number for me. They both will work, but when people call my Google Voice number, I don’t use any of my minutes at all.

Thank you Google for providing the service. Please don’t screw it up.