I've made much headway considering the complexity of getting the Alcatel SpeedTouch USB modem to work.
I've gotten everything to the point where Linux recognizes the modem and all that (I'm using PPPoA) but when I go to run "pppd" I get errors like the following my in log:
Nov 25 20:02:35 localhost pppd: pppd 2.4.1 started by root, uid 0
Nov 25 20:02:35 localhost pppd: Using interface ppp1
Nov 25 20:02:35 localhost pppd: Connect: ppp1 <--> /dev/pts/1
Nov 25 20:02:35 localhost /etc/hotplug/net.agent: assuming ppp1 is already up
I don't know if that's helpful or not, but that's what happens. I am still not able to connect using the SpeedTouch.