Need advice on switching DSL service - Speakeasy to Yahoo
July 1, 2004 12:23 PM   Subscribe

DSL Service: I want to switch my DSL to Yahoo because the price is so fricking low right now. I love my current provider (Speakeasy), but dude, $26.95! So I want to know if SBC/Yahoo DSL is a nightmare. Also, I've heard horror stories about switching. How long of an interruption should I expect? Help this poor ignorant fool, won't you?
posted by _sirmissalot_ to Computers & Internet (24 answers total)
Response by poster: Well, the SBC people say I need to cancel my Speakeasy service first--and wait until I'm not getting any connection--before submitting my order. This is because Speakeasy needs to "release the line," whatever that means.

So I guess I'm wondering how long SBC typically takes to fulfill an order, if it just means throwing a switch. They say to expect one week, but I'm suspicious.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:31 PM on July 1, 2004

I have SBCYahoo DSL and surprisingly enough, it's great. I get a 3mbit connection for $45/mo, and it frequently does up to 600kb/sec downloads, plus you get all the paid yahoo extras (like 2gb email storage). Getting it set up, however, took me two tries, since they "lost" my order the first time, but the customer support people were very friendly, if sometimes ineffective. Took about 11 days to get it in and working, which was 3 days shorter than they said it would take.
posted by Hackworth at 12:33 PM on July 1, 2004

Hackworth: how's your upload speed?

Wow, sirmissalot, we're in exactly the same Zip code. I've found lots of good reviews of providers at (aka: dslreports).

Here's a local review of SBC
. Here's the list of all reviews.

Looks like they've got about two-thirds satisfaction. Not great.

Also see: "Warning: the prices this company quote may not be INCLUSIVE OF UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE! more information."

And check to see what the price goes up to after 12 months. Unless you want to do this all again next year.
posted by scarabic at 12:46 PM on July 1, 2004

Um... I'm a little confused by the corporate identity thing. There's SBC/Yahoo and SBC/PacBell. I linked to the latter. Not sure if it's the same as what you want, but all the local SBC reviews seem to say "Pacbell."
posted by scarabic at 12:54 PM on July 1, 2004

PacBell is being / has been reabsorbed into SBC.
posted by keswick at 1:16 PM on July 1, 2004

I installed SBC/Yahoo about a month ago. Only took about seven days for the technician to switch on the line. However, my self-install kit got "lost in the mail," and they had to send another one. The total time was about 14 days.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2004

I've had sbc for a few years now. The speed is great, but we're only about 1300 ft. from the CO.

That being said, there have been a few problems. When you call customer service, if you can just try to jump to tier 2. Most of the tier 1 support people are reading from a script and have no real idea what the hell you're talking about. They have to cater to the lowest common denominator, so you'll be prompted and asked several times if you can find "start" on your computer. They'll also probably tell you to make sure you're not running AV or any firewalls.

It's been pretty reliable overall, so I guess I could probably recommend them.
posted by damnitkage at 1:21 PM on July 1, 2004

Right, but is Pacbell/SBC the same as Yahoo/SBC? I presume it is, but if sirmissalot wants the shiny Yahoo! toys, the branding might make some difference. FWIW, when the service trucks come through my 94705 neighborhood, I see Yahoo/SBC on the side. The Pacbell thing could just be an old database hairball on
posted by scarabic at 1:22 PM on July 1, 2004

SBC bought Pacbell. For a while it went by Pacbell/SBC as they went through the transition. The letterhead should all be changed to just be SBC by now. The stuff at broadbandreports is outdated from before the merger.

SBC's DSL offering is SBC/Yahoo! DSL.

I switched back in March from Cable to DSL since the price was about 1/2 what TWC wanted. For me the modem came the next day from when I ordered it and the service was turned on on the date promised [about 7 days away from the order date]. It was easy to set-up and get rolling with my WLAN.

In May I did bump up the speed to 3Mb/256Kb for $39 bucks/month. The upstream speed switched right over on the date promised. The downstream didn't. I called in and as damnitkage points out the 1st line support is worthless. There is a forum on where SBC techs deal with issues and they fixed the problem right away.

Also in May there was a problem with the DNS servers for Texas and so it sucked for one weekend. I found an open Verizon DNS server on and was back in business.
posted by birdherder at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2004

Response by poster: thanks for the link to broadbandreports, neighbor.

i should also mention that it took two days of trying the SBC/Yashoo DSL 1-800 number before I got a ring instead of a busy signal. not a good sign.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 1:49 PM on July 1, 2004

I got SBC/Yahoo DSL for my parents' PC, since it was definitely the most cost-effective option for them, and basically, it's fine, as long as you can fend for yourself on a technical front.

As other folks have pointed out, their tech support is worse than worthless. As a perfect example, I registered a domain for our entire family, and set up my mom and dad's mail clients to use that domain as their POP server--when my mom had a problem with her mail and called tech service (I was on a client trip), the rep told her that doing that was illegal. (Swear to God.) When she said that that made no sense at all, he insisted that at the very least, it was not allowed, and basically voided any support agreement.

Any time she's ever used them for tech support, all they've ever really tried to do is convince her to use their client software for all her e-mail, browsing, etc. Useless.

Performance-wise, though, things have been fine. Steady connection, no real flakiness, good throughput. If you don't need support from them, you're probably OK.
posted by LairBob at 1:52 PM on July 1, 2004

scarabic: My upload is supposted to be capped at 368kbps (~46kB/s), but I get up to 60kB/sec.
posted by Hackworth at 2:08 PM on July 1, 2004

only one company ever connects to your phone line. In this case, it is probably SBC. Changing from Speakeasy to SBC/Yahoo is really changing from SBC/Speakeasy to SBC/Yahoo. Your DSL performance won't change (since you will remain on the same DSLAM), but the monthly fee and "services" on top may change. try the following:

1) tell Speakeasy you are thinking of changing to Yahoo. Can they match yahoo's pricec?

2) a price like $26.95 is probably only good for three months or so. check and see how high it goes after the introductary period.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:40 PM on July 1, 2004

SBC sucks, but it's cheap. Here's my horror story from last year:

Chicago. I'm moving out of my apartment, my roommate's staying, but the phone line and DSL are in my name. I call SBC, tell them the only thing I need to switch is THE NAME on my bill. Nothing else. They say they've just changed their policy, and that they have to CANCEL my service, SIGN UP my roommate, and that they, for some reason, have to turn off our service for 2 weeks. I'm pissed, but fine, I don't have any other choice.

Two weeks go by, I call to ask why my DSL isn't back up. Long story short, I spent about 10 hours on the phone with them over a four day period, was told 5 times that someone would look into this and call me right back; that "you're too far from a phone router to get DSL" (after I'd already had it for a year), and that there was some hold on my account . I had to go back and forth between the tech support people, the billing people, and the people that actually "flip the switch." (Also, there are different people for *new* customers to flip the switch and renewing customers to flip the switch.) I got to the point where I would instanly ask to "speak with the manager" the instant I started speaking with someone. Learned my lesson, too--I'll never call a tech support line again without getting badge numbers and names.

SBC: Possibly the worst-run company I've ever seen. They dropped the Ameritech name because before they merged, *Ameritech* was the worst-run company I've ever seen.
posted by gramcracker at 2:47 PM on July 1, 2004

The $26.95 is for 12 months. You have to order it online. You're locked into that price with a $200 kill fee -- unless you move to a non-SBC area.

When I switched, I asked Earthlink if they'd match it, and they said no. YMMV.

If you're interested, in some places, you can get up to 6Mb down from SBC. You have to ask for it. I think it is $69/mth. I'd love that bandwidth but that's a lot of $ for me.
posted by birdherder at 2:55 PM on July 1, 2004

Here in Japan, $60/mo. gets you 100 Mb/sec. fiber optic connections via Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and one of their many branded resellers.
posted by gen at 3:31 PM on July 1, 2004

For what it's worth, I just recently switched from DSL to DSL and couldn't be happier. Speakeasy has impressed me several times with top notch customer service, whereas merely reaching a human at is an undertaking of epic proportions. Oh, yeah, and I've got six times the throughput in both directions, at about the same price I was paying before. Plus several extra static IPs. Plus a shell account. And a pile of email aliases.

With, I had, um, one static IP, throughput of 1.5/128 (although the CIR was only 384/128, so I wasn't complaining), and a complete inability to get service from anyone who wasn't talking from a script. More than once, I had to bullshit into thinking I was poking around in Windows control panels, when all I wanted them to do was open a ticket to the NOC to fix a problem with their router.

SBC: Possibly the worst-run company I've ever seen. They dropped the Pacbell name because before they merged, *Pacbell* was the worst run company I've ever seen.
posted by majick at 4:23 PM on July 1, 2004

Also, I know a guy who had to contact the Pacbell General Counsel (read: "honcho lawyer") and make threatening noises, just to get them to respond to his request for installation status. And even then it took 3 more weeks for the installers to pull their heads out of their asses.

Pacbell bad. SBC bad.
posted by majick at 4:25 PM on July 1, 2004

I've been happy with Speakeasy, too, except for the minor fact that they won't lower my DSL price to the price they're currently offering new subscirbers ($109 vs $99). And it was out from about 2 PM yesterday until I got home to reboot the modem -- to be fair, that's only like the second outage I've had in over a year, and one of them was when they upgraded me to the 6 Mbps package.
posted by kindall at 8:07 PM on July 1, 2004

I checked the SBC/Yahoo pages I was able to find, and I couldn't see any clause in the fine print that stated the price went up after a year. However, the $27 package was for a 1-year commitment. Month to month was $50. So you may need to recommit in a year, or it is possible that your "promotion" will end and they'll start charging you $50. Be sure to ask about that.

There is also some really vague fee you have to pay, but they won't say how much it is:

"You will also be charged a monthly FUSF cost recovery fee to help cover charges from our data transport supplier pursuant to state and federal telecom regulations. This fee is not a tax or government required charge."

Post a followup and let us know how it works out!

--that's pretty damn decent, Hackworth. Thanks
posted by scarabic at 10:18 PM on July 1, 2004

I've had SBC/Yahoo DSL for 8-9 months. No problems other than a couple of service outages that lasted 2-3 hours each.
posted by shoos at 2:22 AM on July 2, 2004

tell Speakeasy you are thinking of changing to Yahoo. Can they match yahoo's pricec?

They won't, I'm sure of it. I used to work there. Their techs tend to be smart, which is cool. They do have this annoying tendency to offer new packages that are cheaper and only *slightly* different from their previous packages so they can argue they don't need to uphold their "lowest price guarantee" which, to the best of my knowledge, almost never results in a lower price for the customer. Switching quite often is pretty simple. Speakeasy "releases" the circuit and then SBC/Yahoo can grab it for you. There is often some downtime and if you can get it scheduled at a time during the week when you can grab ahold of a tech person if there is a screw up, more the better. The downside to switching is that in rare cases when you are already sort of far from the Central Office, there may be some problems if you can't get your line to connect with the newer hardware/config. I've seen rare cases [very rare] when people switched and basically had no service and the new ISP would be like "well, sucks to be you." This is also true when you upgrade or switch from SDSL to ADSL.

FUSF should already be included on your Speakeasy bill and should be roughly equivalent, if not exactly the same at Yahoo.

Also, I worked there a few years back, but when I was there, Speakeasy used shared DSLAMs but their own routers [POPs] and, of course, DNS so service could vary a bit based on what the experience is like with the Yahoo people. I liked them when I was with them, but they are definitely higher priced than most other DSL providers out there.
posted by jessamyn at 10:41 AM on July 2, 2004

Response by poster: thanks for the scoop, jessamyn. how long does it actually take for speakeasy to release the circuit, after you've cancelled? the yahoo people were telling me i have to wait until that happens before i submit my order.

i should say that i really do like the support i've gotten with speakeasy (but i rarely need it). but there have been quite a few six-hour outages, too, so i don't feel that bad.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 2:49 PM on July 2, 2004

The SBC/Yahoo $26.95 is for a 1-year contract. Mine recently ended, and the extended me the same price if I would re-commit for another year.

I've been pretty happy with my service from them. Most of the problems I've had have come more from living in a 100-year-old building with rat's-nest wiring than anything else.
posted by antimony at 12:35 PM on July 5, 2004

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