North Hollywood Senior Drops $10K On Newspaper Ad To Complain About Internet Speed
NORTH HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) — Aaron Epstein is a man who knows what he likes: streaming movies and watching television on the internet. He also knows what he hates: slow internet speeds.
"With 3Mbps, which was the only speed AT&T has been giving me, it was, yeah, I don't know if you're familiar with the term buffering."
Epstein said he has been with AT&T for 60 years and his parents were customers of the company for even longer. But when he noticed their ads for "lightning fast" internet speeds, it bothered him so much that he started calling customer service — over and over — in an attempt to get answers.
"Well it was simply the frustration of calling AT&T over the last five years saying, 'Why aren't you giving me the faster internet speed?'" he said.
Epstein said at times his internet was so slow that watching movies was more like watching a slideshow, which is when the idea dawned on him.
"I just said, 'Well, there's only one way of getting to them,'" he said. "And so I said, 'Let's put an ad in the Wall Street Journal, in the New York City edition, that would reach the investors.'"
But it turns out ads in the Wall Street Journal are far from cheap. Epstein said it cost $10,099 for the ad buy that features his phone number and email address along with his open letter to the company.
He said people were reaching out left and right after it ran — some critical, others supportive and some even offering up their own advice to increase internet speed.
"Offered to install my own fiber optic system in my own home. I don't have the foggiest idea what that involved or how to do it," Epstein said. "Or people have been telling me sign up for T-Mobile and they have an internet service that's attached to their phone Wi-Fi system. I'm not familiar with that."
When asked why he decided to purchase the ad instead of taking his complaint to social media as so many do, he simply asked, "How do you post to social media?"
But the old school route worked, and Epstein said he received a call from AT&T.
"Corporations, they don't listen necessarily to the homeowner on the street," he said. "They listen to the press. It gets the word out that people are not happy."
AT&T confirmed Friday that the company upgraded Epstein's neighborhood as part of planned expansion of the telecom's fiber network.
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