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Can I get DSL without having a home phone line?
April 27, 2004 6:32 PM   Subscribe

So can I get DSL without having a home phone line or what?

Would *love* to kick Bell to the curb, but I absolutely must maintain my DSL service (provided by a third party). Is this at all possible? (I'm in Canada, if that makes any difference...)
posted by danwalker to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
 
What you're looking for is called "naked DSL". That is, the DSL without the corresponding local phone line. Qwest recently became the first regional Bell to offer this. There is speculation that other local phone companies will follow that lead. I'd call your local Bell and ask them.
posted by split atom at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2004


I recently called Speakeasy, Inc. regarding this type of service. They are rolling out the product any time now, but it's not clear that they are rolling it out in my service area or nation wide. It may, in fact, be limited to certain markets where the local telco is cooperating.

I expect this to become more popular and competitive in the near future. Companies are already planning VoIP and DSL bundled as well as naked DSL.

To answer your question, yes it's feasible, but it may not be in your market yet.

One thing to note. DSL prices vary widely. The same service Verizon provides me for $30 would cost me $60 with SpeakEasy, though SpeakEasy offers a lot more flexibility. Verizon really only offers one DSL package for residential subscribers. With SpeakEasy, you can purchase a range of products. Expect naked DSL to be more expensive than DSL only price, but slightly less expensive than a POTS and DSL line until the market demands different prices.
posted by sequential at 7:45 PM on April 27, 2004


When I had DSL from Speakeasy (resold from Covad) they only offered it over a phone line that was not in use. In my case I used the extra pair that was intended for a second phone line, but not in use.

So it's certainly possible, even though the phone company still owned the lines and was responsible for repairs. But it depends somewhat on your local providers; that may not be the way your providers normally do things.
posted by hashashin at 7:52 PM on April 27, 2004


Covad-provided DSL -- or service from just about any other CLEC, assuming there are any left alive -- comes without bundled POTS. As everyone is saying, however, CLEC-provided DSL isn't cheap. The CLEC is paying a lot of money to the ILEC (your local "baby Bell") to get space in the central office and access to the copper lines. These costs are typically higher than the ILEC is selling bundled DSL service for, because the Bell has a monopoly advantage.

In order to merely break even, an outfit like Speakeasy has to charge more than the Bell does: they're paying Covad who is paying the Bell, and they still have to run an ISP on top of all that. Unfortunately, the FCC and Congress moved too slowly to save most of the CLECs from the Bells' predatory practices.
posted by majick at 7:56 PM on April 27, 2004


Oh, but you're in Canada, so none of this applies to you. Sorry. I thought Candians all got free cable modems and more bandwidth than any human could ever use.
posted by majick at 7:57 PM on April 27, 2004


We do get free cable modems, POTS modems, and more bandwidth than any human could ever use. At least, not until said human began streaming videos in realtime. But we Canucks do have to pay for the actual data services, even though the hardware is bundled in for free.

According to recent CRTC decision, the ILECs/CLECs -- ie. the big telephone boys, who generally have the monopoly on copper within cities still -- must unbundle their ADSL services from their voice services.

However, most are still figuring out how to best accomplish that.

If you're a Telus voice subscriber, you'll note there's even provision for this unbundling on your bills. It's marked down as a zero-dollar ADSL service. If you're leasing the line for voice, the possible ADSL lease is included in the price.

What I want, and what I suspect you want, is to get rid of the voice, pay the ADSL copper lease fee, pay the ADSL data service charges, and switch all your voice calls to cellular...

...so far I've yet to find anyone in Telus willing to really work with me on this. The different departments don't talk to each other and certainly don't want to make claims for each other.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:08 PM on April 27, 2004


I'm in Toronto and some months ago I was in the same spot. I tried Sprint, Rogers, etc. No luck. I think it is just a matter of time before it is available because of the high demand. Like five fresh said, you'll still need the land line or the cable service package. Yeh it sucks!
posted by orbit at 8:35 PM on April 27, 2004


When I worked for Speakeasy, all the DSL that we sold was via a second pair of copper wires that went into the house that were NOT the phone line. The interesting thing was, they used the phone number at the house to do the line-length estimations [the "you are 11,000 feet from the central office" deal] estimations that would tell you what quality/speed DSL you would qualify for. SO, you had to have a phone line, but you could cancel it once the DSL was in. Most of the time this would not affect your DSL but I heard tell sometimes it would. Since employees got DSL for cheap, and Speakeasy was in Seattle, the employee set-up was usually DSL in the house with a cell phone, no POTS.

Putting in the "naked" DSL involved a truck roll from Covad and some guy in your house drilling holes in your wall running a line in from the phone box into your house to put in an ethernet jack. This was rough from a customer support perspective [figuring out when the guy was coming, making sure the guy was competent, customers wanting to Covad guy to configure their computer, holes drilled in walls upsetting landlords, billing for missed appointments, etc] so when they started selling DSL that came in on the same lines as the phone signal [using splitters at the phone jacks to enable the DSL/phone to not conflict with eachother, usually] almost everyone was delighted. However, the people who didn't want a POTS line were annoyed, and cable modem is preferable often in this situation. As I recall [possibly wrongly] business DSL installs still came in over a spare pair of wires, not in with the phone service. Might be worth checking into this. Costs more, but you can then cancel your phone line.
posted by jessamyn at 8:56 AM on April 28, 2004


Dan, I live in Calgary, where Telus rules, and when I moved and enquired about phone line-less DSL (shaw was being extremely unhelpful), the sales-type laughed at me. When I suggested that there is no technical reason why they couldn't, he basically told me that I was insane. Of course now I pay Telus $0/month, because of the cable modem/cell phone combo.

So, here, it's technically possible, but they won't do it for you. You might have more success in Ottawa, where I hear that there is more high-speed competition.
posted by sauril at 10:18 AM on April 28, 2004


Speakeasy (that is, Covad) currently installs DSL piggyback on existing phone lines, with no new copper. At least, that's what they did for me when I switched from Verizon DSL. It might be different if you live in Qwest country.
posted by kindall at 11:15 AM on April 28, 2004


I live in Ottawa, and as far I can tell, naked DSL isn't available here yet. I've been keeping a weather eye out for it since last June when the unbundling decision was made by the CRTC, but I haven't yet seen a provider able to offer it to residential customers. I last looked in February---I moved and was trying to avoid the Bell new account fee, but no luck.

I love to be able to have a naked/dry line and hanve a land phone through Primus via their $20/mo VOIP plan, and be completely Bell-free, but no dice yet.
posted by bonehead at 12:04 PM on April 28, 2004


Cincinnati Bell is the biggest DSL and internet provider in Cincinnati. They are also, obviously, the phone compnay here.

Shockingly they will provide Naked DSL.
posted by Mick at 12:50 PM on April 28, 2004


bonehead? You're not Bonehead from old 613 BBS days, are you?

...and I don't think there are any Canadian providers that offer naked DSL right now. Soon, maybe, but not just yet.
posted by Jairus at 8:37 PM on April 28, 2004


You can not be Bell-free. As far as I know, Bell (or your local original monopoly) owns the copper that runs to your house. Ain't no one gonna get to use that copper for free.

At worst, though, you'll be paying Bell ~$20/mo for the copper line lease, your ISP ~$20/mo ADSL, and your cell provider ~$20/mo for voice service.

As a Canadian who had a real nice, tame monopoly serving his communications needs for all his life up to the point of deregulation, I cynically note that my phone bills have not gone down in any way.

Oh, sure, my long-distance costs are down. But my local line lease has doubled in cost. And ADSL isn't included in the bundle.

I somehow suspect that had the CRTC been allowed to retain a deathgrip on the monopoly telcos, they'd have been forced to bundle local, long distance, and data services into a single cheap package that certainly wouldn't be more pricey than what we're paying with this so-called "competition", and probably a lot less than that.

Aaach, for the days of monopolies and consumer-focused regulation thereof. We had a good thing going.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:14 PM on April 28, 2004


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