Friday, November 30, 2007

Naked DSL

High-speed internet access is a must these days. The low cost option is DSL, but for the cell-phone generation, this requires people who don't need a land-line to get one anyway. This obligatory phone line at our house is basically just a lightning rod for telemarketers. I can hear your cry: "Oh, if only there was only a way to get cheap DSL without forking out another 30 bucks a month for a regular phone line." ($30/month = $360/year = a good road trip somewhere interesting).

Friend, I feel your pain. Since I'm a natural born value-shopper (cheapskate?), I thought I'd look into "better value" internet. "Better value" meaning a Basic (768 Kbps) connection without a land-line for less than a Basic connection WITH a land-line (currently ~$45/month).

Happily, a lot of phone companies are starting to offer "Naked DSL", which is basically DSL without an activated land-line, or "dry-loop DSL". I checked with Verizon and they freely admitted that you can in fact order DSL without ordering regular phone service. But don't be fooled into getting more than you need. You could pay up to 2x as much for the "popular" 1.5 Mbps plan, instead of the basic 768 Kbps plan. Unless you're a media pirate (argh!), the Basic plan is fast enough for e-mail, google searches, and even full-screen youtube videos (I want my youtube!).

Since we're moving to an area serviced by AT&T, I checked to see if AT&T offers similar plans. Turns out they do, but they only market the "popular" plans, which includes the "Express DSL" which is 1.5 Mbps for $44/month. That's about what it costs for Basic connection WITH a land-line. What a crock.

It gets better: I recently found out that AT&T has been REQUIRED by the FCC to offer BASIC DSL without a land-line for $20/month (see HERE for the story). Of course they don't market this plan, since it's not as big of a moneymaker as the "popular" plans. According to an anonymous AT&T employee, if you're area is serviced by AT&T and you want BASIC DSL without a land-line, here's what you need to do:

•Call the AT&T Dry Loop department directly at 888-800-4095
•Ask to switch to "DSL direct"
•If they give you a hassle, say it's a "retention offer"

So that's what I intend to do. And if you wish you didn't have to pay $30/month for a phone line you don't use, you should too.


Souza said...

You are a master sensei among us mere peasants.

(Have you ever thought about going into electrical engineering? You know that quote from Hal Eyring's dad, right? Is chemistry what you think about when you don't have anything else to think about? If your recent blogs are any indication, me thinks not).

I shall now call you FONEMAN!

descendent said...

UPDATE: I was shooting for 768 kbps without a phone line for <$20. I got 1.5 Mbps for $24. Not bad.

This is actually a lot better deal than Verizon's "dry loop DSL", which runs $32 for 768 kbps and $42 for 1.5 Mbps.

BS: As far as the double-E education goes, that's going to be a hard sell to the family at this point. It's probably in my best interest to stick to the path I'm on... But a guy can dream, right?