90-year-old man finally gets fibre broadband after spending RM40K on newspaper ad

If you’re still stuck with slow ADSL connectivity, it must be frustrating to not have access to faster broadband while your neighbours staying a few blocks away are able to enjoy fibre broadband connectivity. Aaron Epstein, a 90-year-old senior citizen in the US also faced a similar situation and had taken a drastic approach. He spent USD 10,000 (about RM40,420) on a newspaper ad to vent his frustration at AT&T. Guess what? It actually worked.

The quarter-page ad on the Wall Street Journal is essentially an open letter to AT&T CEO John Stankey to tell him that his internet experience sucked. It read “AT&T prides itself as a leader in electronic communications. Unfortunately, for the people who live in N. Hollywood, CA 91607, AT&T is now a major disappointment.”

The ad added that AT&T is advertising broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps but yet they are only offering 3Mbps for his neighborhood, while the competition is offering speeds of over 200Mbps.

According to Arstechnica, Epstein has been a loyal AT&T customer since 1960. He was also one of the first in Los Angeles to upgrade to DSL when it was offered in the 90s. Each time he called them to ask about faster speeds, he was always told by customer service that they are working on it but without providing a definitive date. Although he subscribes to a 3Mbps plan, he claims to be getting just 1.5Mbps most of the time which makes online streaming frustrating.

After the story went viral and was featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, AT&T had finally went to his premises to install fibre broadband in just two days. It was reported that Epstein and his wife are now getting over 300Mbps which is 100X faster than its old 3Mbps DSL connection.

Epstein told Ars Technica that the installation had costed AT&T “thousands and thousands of dollars” just to hook up his house. The CEO of AT&T had also reached out to Epstein and told him that he saw the WSJ ad that was shared by his staff. The communications provider said they are also working as quickly as possible to complete the fibre expansion in the neighbourhood.

In Malaysia, the government is aiming to fiberise a total of 7.5 million premises by 2022 under the JENDELA plan. At the moment, TM has covered a total of 5 million premises with fibre broadband connectivity and it was reported that TM has exceeded last year’s JENDELA target by deploying fibre infrastructure to 272,185 premises nationwide as of 9th December 2020. The broadband provider aims to cover 300,000 premises in the first half of 2021.

For existing Streamyx customers residing in areas without Unifi fibre broadband access, TM is also offering Unifi Air as an interim solution which provides unlimited 4G broadband for RM79/month. However, this is only offered for premises that are located within the Unifi 4G LTE coverage.

If you’re facing connectivity issues, MCMC has urged the public to lodge a formal complaint through the Aduan SKMM portal if they do not receive a satisfactory response from their telco. The commission also promises to respond to complaints within 24 hours.


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Alexander Wong