BellSouth Tips Toes Back Into Residential VoIP

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

The big telcos seem to have a love-hate affair with VoIP. They know that it's where everything is headed, but they sure don't like the idea of it eating away at their traditional landline business. AT&T didn't do much when they were SBC, but along with the AT&T name and business came a bunch of AT&T CallVanage customers. Verizon has offered VoiceWing -- but they originally priced it quite high, and then have done little to actually push it. It's as if they have it so they can say they have it -- and then never actively sell it. However, a reporter recently mentioned that the last holdout was always going to be BellSouth -- and that the company would never offer naked DSL (something they've fought) until they had a viable VoIP solution. So, now that the news is leaking out that BellSouth is quietly offering VoIP by rebranding Packet 8's service, does that mean they're inching closer to naked DSL? Somehow, that seems unlikely. Of course, what very few people seem to remember is that three years ago, BellSouth was actually one of the first telcos to offer VoIP. They were reselling service from Vonage very quietly, and the second the press got wind of it, executives shut the offering down. Of course, if they had been smart and kept going, they'd have 3 years of experience with VoIP right now.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Dec 10th, 2005 @ 12:44pm

    Technologically advanced

    It's as if they have it so they can say they have it -- and waiting for the grunts to catch up to the Jetsons.

     

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  2.  
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    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 9:30am

    Naked DSL not so sneaky

    I enjoy reading your articles about telco and I couldn't help but comment on this last one.
    The way you've positioned naked DSL in your commentary, I get the impression you take it as the "dirty little secret" of the hard line biz. Respectfully, I would have to disagree.
    Obviously, the industry is viciously competitive. Naked DSL is a way for a hard line provider to offer something that accommodates competing technology while cleverly fused with its own product, the hard line.
    It's best of both worlds. This is especially true of the business market. For instance, P&G uses both. Voip has its place in the company but when internal phone calls about new products take place, I assure you, it is not on the Internet.
    While every form of communication is going to have some sort of Achilles heal, there is nothing less secure than the Internet versus the other mediums available.
    What's left of Ma-Bell is not in denial about Voip, far from it. The old phrase, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", well, if you're a hard line company, you can! However, last I checked, Voip providers are not running all over the country laying hard lines nor standing in line to sign up as c-lecs.
    Speaking of c-lecs, wouldn't that be "re-branding"? When did that become a dirty word?

     

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  3.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 10:09am

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    The way you've positioned naked DSL in your commentary, I get the impression you take it as the "dirty little secret" of the hard line biz. Respectfully, I would have to disagree.

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean. It's pretty clear that AT&T (SBC), BellSouth and Verizon are *extremely* reluctant to offer naked DSL. They've all claimed they would and then backed away, or changed the definition of naked DSL so they could announce they had it when they really didn't. It's not a "dirty little secret". They just don't want to offer it because they're afraid it will cannibalize their voice business. That's pretty clear.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 10:44am

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    what do you mean by "naked DSL," exactly?

     

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  5.  
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    becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 10:49am

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    SBC, BellSouth and Verizon are all communication companies not just voice companies. Naked DSL is not a voice product. Any consumer that would pay one provider for naked DSL another provider for VOIP and then yet another for wireless either has a lot of money to burn or is irretrievably stupid.
    I think you overestimate the real position of naked DSL in the residential market and that would explain your perception that these companies are afraid of it.
    It's not a conspiracy, it's just business.

     

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  6.  
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    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 10:56am

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    That is an excellent question! If there were more consumers like you, asking questions about what they are paying for, then there wouldn't be nearily as many conspiracy theorists.
    Naked DSL:
    DSL is high speed access to the internet over your existing hard line. They refer to it as naked when you are only using your hard line for the DSL and not to make phone calls.

     

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  7.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Any consumer that would pay one provider for naked DSL another provider for VOIP and then yet another for wireless either has a lot of money to burn or is irretrievably stupid.

    And yet, there are plenty of us. How is it stupid in that many of us just don't want a land line. Considering that VoIP is cheaper than an old telco voice line, why should I want to pay a telco for a voice line when it's much more expensive? It would seem like THOSE are the people who have money to burn or are stupid.

    Meanwhile Qwest does offer naked DSL, and there's obviously strong demand for it. Lots of people have been asking for it, and the stupidity is on the part of telcos who refuse to provide it. By NOT providing it, they encourage people to go elsewhere, to providers who *WILL* give them what they want.

    As for it being a "business" decision, that's definitely true. I never suggested it was a "conspiracy." They're obviously trying to protect their legacy voice revenue. My point is that this is what's short-sighted. They're betting that consumers don't know or don't want VoIP -- and betting that your customers are stupid tends to be a losing bet.

     

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  8.  
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    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    True naked DSL (which is widely available where I am) means you don't pay the local telco for the POTS, only the regulated fee's that are applicable. You really only pay for the piggyback DSL. BUT AGAIN!
    If you are SO against a land line and if VoIP is SUCH a superior and less expensive product.
    Why do you even care if DSL, in any form of dress or undress even exists?!?!?!?!?!?

    Saying "I want DSL but I DON'T want a hard line" is about as bright as saying "I want the internet but I don't want a computer."

     

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  9.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Saying "I want DSL but I DON'T want a hard line" is about as bright as saying "I want the internet but I don't want a computer."

    Huh? This makes no sense.

    I want DSL but don't want a voice line. How is that the same as saying "I want the internet but don't want a computer."

    The reason I, and many people, want naked DSL is because we want the internet connection, but don't want or need a voiceline from the telco. I'm not quite sure what your argument is. Could you please explain more clearly. Wanting a broadband connection without a voiceline makes plenty of sense. I don't need the voiceline -- why should I be forced to have it?

     

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  10.  
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    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky


    A Digital Subscriber Line (DSL,ADSL,VDSL..etc) IS a phone line! Just because you're not using it for voice doesn't change the fact that it is, in fact, a voice line.
    You can't watch satellite TV with out a dish and you can't have DSL with out a hard line.
    That is why I equated it to "I want internet but no computer".
    When you bought your last car, did you get indignant about being made to pay for the backseat because you weren't intending on using it?

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    I think we're talking about two very different things here, and perhaps that explains your confusion.

    We're not complaining about the physical line, but being forced to turn on phone *SERVICE* through it if it's totally redundant and unnecessary. Your backseat analogy doesn't make any sense.

    A better analogy would be the last time you went to fill up gas, did they force you to get an oil change too, because you were there.

    That's the problem. They're bundling *services* that don't need to be bundled.

    No one is saying give me a DSL line that isn't a "line". They're saying give us a DSL line that doesn't have phone service turned on and which we don't have to pay for phone service.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Okay, the term "naked" means there is no phone service to accompany the DSL.
    THAT is why you think I'm confused.

    Do you have DSL? If so and you are oppressively bundled, you'll notice that the DSL is not taxed.
    Ever wonder why?

    An even better analogy would be telling your bank you don't want to pay your mortgage because you were on vacation that month and not living there.

     

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  13.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Ok. I'm giving up. I no longer understand what you're talking about. All I know is that an awful lot of people keep asking their telcos for DSL without phone service. Customers are demanding it, and the telcos keep paying lip service to it, but not delivering it (other than Qwest).

    Your analogies make no sense and have nothing to do with what we're discussing. The bank/mortgage analogy again makes no sense. How is that being forced to bundle two services when you only want one? I'm having trouble understanding the point you're trying to make.

    I do have DSL and I also pay for phone service -- which I don't use. There is no phone hooked up to it, yet I'm paying every month. Doesn't that seem sort of pointless? You have yet to explain why we absolutely need to do this. The truth is, we don't. Qwest has shown telcos don't need to do that. The *only* reason to do it is to protect a legacy voice business. That's the point we're making. What point are you trying to make?

     

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  14.  
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    keith, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 6:07pm

    This is funny.

    Many of these analogies are bunk because last time I checked, you still had to PAY for the DSL service. The Telco's are just taking advantage of their monopoly on the phone lines and forcing people who may not have other reasonable options to buy phone service along with the DSL service. Where I live broadband cable and DSL are available and guess what, you can have either without subscribing to phone service or cable tv. Sure they charge a little more for it if you don't bundle it, but if you truly don't need or use the other sevices it's still cheaper to go without them.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    My point is that you think that you are paying for something that you are not using but that is not entirely true. You ARE using the hard line, you're just not talking on it. I'm sorry that you are forced to pay for a local dial tone calling plan, if that is indeed the case then you're local service provider is making leaps backwards.
    AND
    Once again, DSL is not a voice product so how can they be protecting legacy voice by with holding or bargaining a product that has nothing to do with voice?
    AND
    If you are so buggered by your bundle, switch to cable! No one has more influence on consumer products/services than THE CONSUMER! Supply and demand my friend, learn it, love it and get drunk with power!
    AND
    My analogies make plenty of sense! You keep saying "I don't want to pay for something I'm not using!" but you are using it to type those words. Remember I mentioned your DSL is not taxed? That's because you can't be taxed on the same product twice. The regulated tax and fees will appear on the "voice" service portion of your bill. DIAL TONE IS DIAL TONE. It doesn't matter what you do with it how you use it or if you use it. If you subscribe to it, you have to pay for it in one fashion or another. (Hence, I don't want to pay for the back seat I don't use or the house I didn't live in).
    AND
    I know you are but what am I?

     

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  16.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    I'm sorry that you are forced to pay for a local dial tone calling plan, if that is indeed the case then you're local service provider is making leaps backwards.

    Ah, the root of our problem. What you describe as a "making leaps backwards" is exactly what we're saying. Offering DSL without a voice service plan IS NAKED DSL. BellSouth, Verizon and AT&T all do not offer DSL without a voiceplan. That's all we're asking for. That's naked DSL. Apparently you have a different definition for it.


    Once again, DSL is not a voice product so how can they be protecting legacy voice by with holding or bargaining a product that has nothing to do with voice?


    The whole point is that they are forcing voice. Which part of that didn't make sense.


    If you are so buggered by your bundle, switch to cable! No one has more influence on consumer products/services than THE CONSUMER! Supply and demand my friend, learn it, love it and get drunk with power!


    As I've explained repeatedly, cable is not an option here, and cable (of course) has it's own problems.

    DIAL TONE IS DIAL TONE.

    Right, but I don't want voice service. That's all we're talking about here.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Okay, lets say your provider finally lets you off the proverbial hook and you get your naked DSL. What do you do for voice? VoIP?

     

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  18.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Okay, lets say your provider finally lets you off the proverbial hook and you get your naked DSL. What do you do for voice? VoIP?

    Either VoIP or mobile, which is what everyone who is asking for naked DSL wants.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Becca, Dec 11th, 2005 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    So that would make you one of the consumers that is paying for naked DSL, VoIP, and wireless, and lets refer back to my thread several hours ago...what does that make you?

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 11th, 2005 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Naked DSL not so sneaky

    Apparently "a lot of money to burn or is irretrievably stupid." Neither of which makes sense -- as I've clearly explained.

    I'm still confused as to how saying I don't want to pay for something I'm not using makes me stupid or have money to burn. I would think it's the other way around: paying for something that you don't need and don't use that means you have a lot of money to burn or are stupid.

    So, please, go ahead and clarify. Why is it that asking to not pay for a service I don't need, but which is forced on me, make me smarter?

     

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  21.  
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    Becca, Dec 12th, 2005 @ 3:57am

    Uncle!


    Presently you pay for communication like this:
    Local Carrier - DSL+ISP+Voice
    Wireless carrier - Cell

    What you propose would be more like this:
    Local carrier - DSL
    VoIP - Voice
    Wireless - Cell

    Now, stay with me, because this is where things get tricky.
    Even though you are not paying your local carrier for a voice plan, your phone line is active. You have dial tone.
    The fall out in your logic is adding the VoIP on top of DSL.
    VoIP only makes sense if for those that DO NOT have a hard line.

     

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  22.  
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    Mike (profile), Dec 12th, 2005 @ 10:02am

    Re: Uncle!

    VoIP only makes sense if for those that DO NOT have a hard line.

    I'm still amazed that we're having this discussion. However, your statement again makes no sense.

    If VoIP is cheaper/better than hard line voice, then how could you possibly make your above statement? The statement above that is flat out wrong. If you're not paying for a voice plan, then you do not have voice service, other than to call 911. If I still want voice service, it makes a lot more sense to not pay for voice on the hardline, but to get a VoIP plan instead.

    So, we take your two examples. In the first one, someone is paying twice as much for voice service. In the second one, they're saving a lot of money, while also getting nomadic abilities and additional features that VoIP allows.

    So, explain to me again why this makes no sense or is "irretrievably stupid?" You save money and you get more functionality.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 12th, 2005 @ 10:03am

    Re: Uncle!

    Geez, do you work for a telco or something? Because you make about as much sense as one.

     

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  24.  
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    beafer, Dec 12th, 2005 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Uncle!

    Becca "Even though you are not paying your local carrier for a voice plan, your phone line is active. You have dial tone"
    Wrong. you can have dsl WITHOUT a dial tone. A dial tone is NOT needed to have DSL. Research the technology before you try to educate someone.

     

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  25.  
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    Yaromir, Dec 20th, 2005 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Uncle!

    You are the one who doesn't make any sense. From an economic point, it's cheaper to have a naked DSL from telco and a cell from wireless operator. As an option you can sign up with some VoIP service running on that naked DSL for international calls (for example Skype is really cheap).

     

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