The Game is Fixed
If AT&T was a blackjack dealer, it would deal two cards to each player and then turn the rest of the cards over and select the best remaining cards for itself. This is more or less how it works right now for alternative network access vendors like Covad. There is the occasional "blackjack!" for Covad when working to install a bonded T1 or other wired Internet connection for its customers. But as often as not AT&T is one step ahead -- in my case for example, there was "insufficient equipment" available to provide a bonded T1 (I was participating in a blogger evaluation program run by Comunicano for Covad).
The United States now lags the rest of the developed world in access speeds for Internet connectivity. Instead of spurring competition, the Bush administration has overseen a re-assembly of the AT&T monopoly ("hey, didn't we already destroy the deathstar? Do we have to do it again?"). And to make matters worse, now just by complaining about AT&T, they can terminate my service.
Anytime a company starts operating like a power-drunk sovereign, its a good sign that competitive balances are out of whack. I for one am hoping that Covad can build up their fixed wireless network as an alternative to the copper wire monopoly our government has granted to AT&T. Not that this will help me, my house is in a canyon without a line-of-sight to Covad's POP in Oakland.
I guess I better fall on my knees now and ask forgiveness of AT&T -- please, please don't cut me off!