Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cutting the Cable – now that’s an Economic Indicator

Bloomberg is reporting that - AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. phone company, faces "softness'' in its consumer business because of slowing economic growth, Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said.

The shares dropped the most in more than five years after Stephenson said AT&T is disconnecting more home-phone and high- speed Internet customers for failing to pay their bills. The pressure hasn't affected the mobile-phone unit or corporate sales, he said at a conference in Phoenix today.

These folks are not switching....they are failing to pay their bills. As a result, they are being cut off from what has become an integral part of society. The internet is a social center; it entertains, informs and alleviates our boredom. Nearly every one expects to have internet access. It has become an entitlement. This can not be an easy choice. It's one thing to reduce spending by cutting out lattes, but internet access? Ouch!

To me this report is a telltale sign that it’s starting to trickle up – if you know what I mean. The average guy has been feeling the economic pinch for some time and now it’s affecting the bottom line of one of the largest companies in the US.

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