AT&T, Verizon DSL price hikes need FCC's attention, says Sen. Blumenthal

Recent moves by AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) to increase their DSL rates has drawn fire from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn.), who has asked FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to look more closely at rising broadband rates.

Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senate

Blumenthal (Image source: Senate.gov)

"Both of [these rate hikes] trouble me," said Blumenthal. "We ought to pay closer attention."  

Genachowski, according to a Broadband DSL Reports article, tried to dodge questions by talking about the growth in "mobile competition over the last couple of years." Later, he said he would work with Blumenthal to investigate the rise in broadband prices.

Following Verizon's move to tack on a $5 fee to its DSL service, AT&T announced that it will raise rates on its High Speed Internet FastAccess DSL Xtreme Direct 6.0 from $47.95 to $51 per month.

These new rates will affect customers who are located in the former nine-state BellSouth region. According to an end-user commenting on the new rates, BellSouth's DSL rates have been traditionally higher than the 13-state AT&T regions.

Similar to Verizon, AT&T stressed the value of the relationship with its customers while saying the rate increase was needed in order "to continue providing you with the high level of quality, service, and features you've come to expect from AT&T." The service provider did say it would offer a $5 bundle discount for those customers who also subscribe to its wireless service.

Last April, the service provider decided to stop selling standalone DSL, or what is called "naked" DSL, to its customers. Verizon has mandated that any new customer or existing naked DSL customer who wants to subscribe to or make a change to their service must purchase a phone line with their DSL line. A 1 Mbps service with a phone package costs $57 per month, while anything above 1 Mbps costs $67 and beyond.

For more:
Broadband DSL Reports has this article

Earnings roundup: Wireline telecom earnings in the fourth quarter of 2012

Related articles:
Verizon slaps new $5 fee on its DSL subscribers
Verizon FiOS lifts wireline consumer revenues to $14 billion in 2012
AT&T, Verizon to see mixed Q4 wireline results, says Morgan Stanley
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