Will AT&T Shut Down U-Verse?

Don’t believe everything you read. There are two stories here, and the story you think you’re reading isn’t even the interesting one.

I think pretty much everyone knows that at some point, AT&T U-Verse, the company’s fiber-based television service, will go away. The company has said as much themselves. However, no time frame has been discussed. I personally would be extremely surprised to see the service shut down this year, as there are still a few million people who haven’t been migrated yet and shutting them down would be a sure way to lose money.

So, that’s the whole story on that. Let me tell you the much more interesting story.

Yesterday I ran across a link on Google News that came from Yahoo, entitled, “AT&T (T) to Shut Down U-Verse and Shift Users to DIRECTV.” Now this, as I said, should not be news. It’s like publishing a story saying “Sun expected to rise tomorrow after period of darkness.” It’s just a thing everyone knows, and the rest of the article is actually about the company’s stock performance.

Why did Yahoo even write the story? They claim they read about it on FierceCable, an industry site for telecommunications insiders. When I checked that site, I found only one possible link: “AT&T may shutter U-verse website, report says.” So, they’re not talking about U-Verse the service, they’re just talking about AT&T’s U-Verse sales portal. Well of course that’s going to shut down at some point, AT&T has stopped taking new customer orders for U-Verse. Eventually the site will develop a security vulnerability that requires rewriting it, and they’ll just take it off line. Maybe they’ll even take it offline sooner to drive sales to DIRECTV.com. Who knows, and who cares, it’s just a web site. They’re not shutting down the service like the Yahoo article says they are.

Where did FierceCable get their information? They quote someone they refer to as “reporter Phillip Swann.” (I’m not going to even link to his blog.) For over a decade, Mr. Swann has operated a small blog with about one-quarter of the content of this blog, full of ads for products on Amazon. He generally gets his information from secondary sources, like reading someone else’s blogs or scouring forums like DBSTalk and SatelliteGuys. In this case, Mr. Swann claims that the information came from speaking directly to an AT&T source, who according to Mr. Swann said AT&T may close the uverse.com site as early as May 30.

Yeah, and if I win the Powerball I may retire tomorrow. But, chances are I’ll be here blogging.

See what happened? A PR flack from AT&T, speaking to someone who usually gets his news from other blogs, said it was “possible” the site would be closed. A more legitimate news source picked that up saying the site “will” be closing on a specific date. Yahoo picked that up and used it as clickbait for an article on stock performance, and Google News picked it up as if it were a real story.

I understand the irony here. I’m a blogger telling you not to trust another blogger, in fact telling you not to trust the internet at all. But I’m telling you to trust me. Seriously folks, I hope you take the stories I write and further research them. I do. But my promise to you is that when I write something it’s as well researched as I can make it, not just based on a sketchy comment from a PR guy who was probably trying to get someone off the phone.

Read more. Learn more. And in the meantime, if you’re still using U-Verse, worry less. You still need to find a new provider, just probably not this month.