Want DSL; don't want phone line.
October 7, 2006 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Experiences getting DSL without phone service?

Cable modem service is not an option in my new apartment. The building has free "T1" internet access, but it sucks. (It borders on false advertising, but that's for another day.) I can get DSL, but I don't need a phone line. Anyone have any experience obtaining such a thing? This is in Chicago; AT&T (née SBC) is the phone company.
posted by raf to Technology (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hm, I'll be interested to see responses. I'm currently keeping a phone line solely as a DSL access point. Haven't come across any good ways of doing it without one, but then I haven't REALLY looked...
posted by scarabic at 11:36 PM on October 7, 2006

Speakeasy offers naked DSL, as do plenty of others-including even most local telcos.
posted by evariste at 11:46 PM on October 7, 2006

Verizon is another naked DSL provider.
posted by evariste at 11:47 PM on October 7, 2006

In North Dakota I used Qwest. I was issued a "phone number" to identify my service, but it was non-functional. The DSL (perhaps obviously) ran over existing telephone wire and worked flawlessly.

Because Qwest is so big, I occasionally had a hiccup with automated billing systems and phone reps, (owing, i'm sure to the non-phone status of my line).

A+ would buy again.
posted by fake at 12:22 AM on October 8, 2006

Best answer: I have AT&T DSL in Chicago. You have to get the phone line with it. Just get the lowest service for the phone, about 20 bucks a month with all of the taxes.
posted by lee at 5:03 AM on October 8, 2006

Best answer: A business I work for ordered this exact thing a few years ago from Ameritech. I'm not sure if whoever owns Ameritech these days still offers it, but it's worth a shot. When we ordered it, it was called an 'unbundled loop'. You may want to use that phrase with the phone company.
posted by paulus andronicus at 7:02 AM on October 8, 2006

I get this exact thing from Verizon &mdash they call it "dry loop service."

So far it's worked exactly like any other DSL I've had.
posted by myeviltwin at 7:09 AM on October 8, 2006

Like many incumbents, Verizon *says* it offers naked DSL. I spent six weeks trying to get Verizon to install this. Amazingly convoluted, many different offices calling me, literally a half dozen different promised install dates... nothing. After six weeks I Verizon Online's "President's Office" finally called me to say, curtly, "We can not offer you DSL". The day before, the same woman had called me to confirm that appointment for that day. Months later, I am still getting bills (for $0) from Verizon for DSL that was never installed and local phone service that was never requested.

Obviously, experiences vary. But for your sanity, I advise going through Speakeasy or a local ISP that will handle the telco crap for you.
posted by meehawl at 7:50 AM on October 8, 2006

Best answer: speakeasy charges me something like $5 less per month than if I had a non-dry pair. but it falls into a separate plan range where the minimum option is $55/month (1.5/384); with an actual phone line they offer a minimum plan of $40/month (768/128).

also it was a newly-built house with no external phone lines hooked up, no nid, nothing. covad came and did all the connections, for which there was strangely no charge.

as mentioned speakeasy is somewhat pricey. also they are turning into a mere shadow of what they used to be; customer service is still great but they are oveselling and overutilizing their infrastructure. at one point I was threatened with cancellation several times for actually using all of my bandwidth for 24 hours or longer at a time.

you might find it oddly more affordable to simply pay ATT for some minimum monthly phone account and just get their service -- their minimum is now $15/month I believe, and they've done away with contracts altogether. and once you have both phone and internet working, call them up and say you need to cancel phone service but you don't want internet disrupted or cancelled (although this could be risky in that they may, simply through incompetence rather than malice, shut off your internet anyway)
posted by dorian at 8:42 AM on October 8, 2006

Best answer: oh also you may want to see who your CLECs are as they will usually offer their own service and be more disposed to things such as dry pairs or getting work orders done on time etc.

e.g. here in my part of brooklyn verizon is the local monopoly and covad is the competitor. and speakeasy is just an interested third party lol. that the three of them actually worked together in a semi-timely fashion still blows me away.

for some reason I thought SBC *was* a CLEC, did not know that ATT subsumed them... but regardless you will still most likely have at least one in your area.

ps I want FIOS.
posted by dorian at 8:48 AM on October 8, 2006

Response by poster: dorian: good point. Any tips on how to find the CLECs in an area?
posted by raf at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2006

this CO search will show what companies are present in your local COs, not sure if there is a better way to find them. dslreports/broadbandreports other isp search pages are just godawful although maybe I've simply not figured out how to use them all these years...
posted by dorian at 9:47 AM on October 8, 2006

That's sad news about Speakeasy's decline, dorian.
posted by evariste at 2:40 PM on October 8, 2006

I had the exact same expierence as meehawl. I'll never deal with verizon again, after a month and a half of getting the runaround I got disgusted and called Time Warner, who had us on the next day.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:43 PM on October 8, 2006

I also switched from Verizon to Speakeasy.

When I called in to Verizon, they told me that I had to sign up for a number just to get the DSL installed, but then I could cancel the phone service. The "online help" is a fucking joke, and their phone help is little better.

I called Speakeasy up, and the line was hooked up within 10 days... it took a bit longer because I wasn't getting enough signal because of some older equipment at the CO... it took 3 days until that was replaced and my DSL was up and running.
posted by hatsix at 6:08 PM on October 8, 2006

Best answer: raf, I'm in the same spot (Chicago, DSL via AT&T) only I recently moved half a mile and had my service transferred.

Unless things have changed they will insist on selling you a phone line with you DSL... I don't think there is anyway around this although I haven't talked to them about since I set the service up three years ago. My bill is around $35 dollars a month I think - that includes the basic phone line.

During my move AT&T transferred my phone but not my DSL - it took a dispatched tech a few minutes to figure this out. On the upside he had my speed bumped up to 3mb (downstream) which is what I'm paying for. Turns out AT&T throttles most of their users... if you have a tech on site ask about this.

(Incidentally I would have gone with cable from Comcast - but I don't agree with their borderline predatory pricing schemes... plus I don't own a TV and have no use for the forced basic cable bundle.)
posted by wfrgms at 8:09 PM on October 8, 2006

Response by poster: Well, I went with AT&T. A barebones phone line with no calling plan at all, plus 3Mbps/512kbps DSL, is $35ish a month as a package. 6Mbps is another $10 a month. And now I'll have a phone number for the phone I'll never plug in!

Thanks for all the help everyone.
posted by raf at 7:51 AM on October 12, 2006

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