Aaron Epstein, 90, was fed up with low Internet speeds at home in North Hollywood, so he placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal. (CBSLA)
“At 3 Mbps, the only speed AT&T gave me was, yeah, I don’t know if you’re familiar with the concept of buffering.”
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Epstein said he has worked for AT&T for 60 years and his parents have been customers for even longer. But when he noticed their ads for “super fast” Internet speeds, it bothered him so much that he started calling customer service – over and over – for answers.
“Well, it was just frustration because I’ve been calling AT&T for five years and saying, ‘Why don’t you guys give me faster Internet speeds,’” he said.
Epstein said his Internet was sometimes so slow that watching movies was more like watching a slideshow, and that’s when he came up with the idea.
“There’s only one way to reach them,” he said. And I said, “Let’s put an ad in the Wall Street Journal, a New York publication that will reach investors.”
But it turns out that advertising in the Wall Street Journal is anything but cheap. Epstein said it costs $10,099 for a purchase ad that includes his phone number and email address and an open letter to the company.
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He said that after the release, people were reaching out left and right – some criticizing, others supporting, and some offering their own advice on how to increase Internet speeds.
“I offered to install my own fiber optic system in my own home. I have no idea what this entails or how to do it,” Epstein said. “Or people have told me that I have a subscription with T-Mobile and they have an Internet service that connects to the Wi-Fi system on their phone. I’m not familiar with that.
When asked why he decided to buy an ad rather than respond to his social media complaints like so many, he simply replied, “How do you advertise on social media?
But the old-fashioned way worked, and Epstein got a call from AT&T.
“Businesses don’t necessarily listen to the owner down the street,” he says. “They listen to the press. Turns out people aren’t happy.”
AT&T confirmed Thursday that someone from the company contacted Epstein, but gave no details of the conversation, referring instead to a statement about the billions of dollars the company says it has invested in the Los Angeles region.
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Epstein still does not have access to faster Internet, although he still hopes that society can help him and his neighbors achieve these blazingly fast speeds.