Many of our readers know that about five years ago, when Southwestern
Bell (d/b/a SBC) was the telco of record for southeastern Kansas,
a new 'upstart' company called Prairie Stream Communications came
along as a 'competitor' and their angle was to lease _all_ the
equipment, etc. from SBC and co-locate in SBC's central office
here in town. Lots of people here in Independence chose to jump
ship from SBC and go with Prairie Stream, keeping their same phone
number, but getting decent, reasonable service from Prairie Stream.
In effect, we were still SBC/AT&T customers, but handled through
Now today, a letter came in the mail from Prairie Stream which
"For those who do not know, we have been in a contract dispute with
AT&T since October 25, 2006. The dispute has ended, and we regret
to inform you we will no longer be providing telephone service
after this month. We are just not able to continue providing
telephone service at a competitive rate. For those customers that
have Internet service billed through Prairie Stream, you will need
to call 1-620-332-1616 if you plan to keep the Internet service.
You will be receiving a letter from AT&T stating that you will
have 30 days to switch your service to a new provider or the line
will be disconnected. We at Prairie Stream Communications would
like to thank you for the loyal business you have given us for the
last five years."
The letter did NOT include any suggestions or referrals as to whom
local telephone service would be provided by ... just the note
mentioned above saying that "AT&T will give you thirty days to
switch your service to a 'new provider' or get disconnected."
Well, gee, I wonder what 'new provider' AT&T would have in mind?
So to try and stay ahead of this mess, I did a search on Google
for 'local phone service for 620-331' and came up with several
suggestions, including Sage, which I am sure is not exactly what
AT&T has in mind. But when I called Sage to inquire about switching
my service away from Prairie Stream I was advised that they were/are
unable to do transfers away from Prairie Stream. They said they
can do transfers out of companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and others
like that, but not out of Prairie Stream. She suggested that I
default myself back to (now) AT&T and then after a month or so give
the account to Sage.
Then I looked at a company called 'Trinsic' 877-237-6278. They
claimed they _were_ able to switch accounts away from Prairie
Stream, and while I waited on hold, she pulled up my existing
account and told me all about it. This is getting more and more
confusing ... however she had no record on file of my existing
'distinctive ring' (ring-ring) number and could not get it
transferred over, but I was to 'give her a couple hours' and call
back about 5 PM today. She did say they could mirror my account
exactly otherwise, so I gave her the order to do so, and she
said it would take place by November 14. I guess we will see
how this all works out during the next week.
I had _thought_ one of the terms of AT&T buying out BellSouth was
that they were required to continue showing mercy on the little
guys still out there; I guess that I was mistaken on that. If
someone comes along who tells me I must take SBC/AT&T for phone
service or do without, then I will switch back to them, but