Georgia Says DSL Shouldn't Require Phone Service

from the finally! dept

I know plenty of people who have decided not to sign up for DSL when they were told that it would mean they also need to sign up for landline phone service. In one case, a friend was told that the company used phone numbers as DSL account numbers, so it was impossible to have DSL without also getting a landline. Of course, with more people ditching landlines for mobile phones or to sign up with VoIP services like Vonage, this makes less and less sense (and gives people more incentive to avoid DSL). Now, however, the Georgia Public Service Commission has told BellSouth that they can’t require a phone line to get DSL. It’s a bit silly that they need to be told to do something that’s likely to get them more business, but that’s the way things work these days. BellSouth says they’re exploring their legal options, meaning they might fight the ruling. More likely, they’ll institute some ridiculous bundling package that makes it economically pointless to get DSL without a phone line. This is what Comcast does for folks who want a cable modem, but not a cable TV. If you just want the connection, it runs you over $60/month. That number drops quite a bit if you go with a “bundled” solution.

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Comments on “Georgia Says DSL Shouldn't Require Phone Service”

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Lord Sludge says:


Agreed, requiring a vestigal landline or CATV for an IP pipe sucks for we mobile folk.

IP over power lines is a distant possibility, but a more likely savior is 802.16 — think of it as wide-area (20+ mile radius) WiFi w/ no line of site restriction, capable of blanketing entire cities. Get ready to cut the cable, erect an antenna, and mourn the obsolete monopolies.

Eric Martin says:

Seperating facts from lies

If the government has the books on these companies and know how much dsl costs them to run then I agree with this law.

Bundling might be valid because the costs of running dsl might be high for this company so they throw in dsl cheap to recoup costs.

You can tell if you examine the books.

Bill Butler (user link) says:

Re: Seperating facts from lies

Georgia is to be commended for this action. As an ISP in Tennessee, I’ve always found it ridiculous that Bell requires THEIR phone service to accompany THEIR DSL. Bell argues that they identify the copper pair for the DSL based on the Bell phone number assigned to that pair. The reality of this situation is that each copper pair has a unique circuit ID. The requirement for a Bell phone number is a monopolistic strategy employed by Bell to get people to keep a Bell land line. If a person decides to discontinue their Bell phone service (while their DSL is active on that same line), the DSL service magically disappears on the same day as the line cut-off. The same happens when users elect to get local phone service from other LECs such as MCI. I’ve seen this happen with unknowing spouses who change service without understanding the implications. When the DSL service is terminated, it results in a $50 deactivation fee (if the service was in place for under 6 months). If the customer then wishes to re-activate the DSL (after re-instating their POTS voice service through Bell), there is also another $60 activation fee. I have tried to get the local CLECs to bring this matter up because in the end, they are affected the most by it. This Bell policy has the anti-competitive effect of boxing out the CLECs. It’s a piece of copper for godsake. Bell has the privilege of the monopoly and controlling 99% of the copper to the home. They should be required to wholesale it to any combination of voice and data providers.

Bryan Church says:

Re: Re: Seperating facts from lies

First of all, you need to get your figures straight here dude. Bell DOES NOT charge a ‘deactivation’ fee for customers who terminate service, unless they fall under the terms of a rebate that they agreed to to get their equipment charges waived. If a residential customer does disconnect service, and then opt to reconnect, they ARE NOT billed an activation fee(don’t even know where you came up with $60, as Bell used to charge $50 for activation until it was done away with). Business DSL subs are billed an activation fee of $50, but that can also be waived depending on the circumstances.

LittleW0lf says:

Go Georgia, now if only California would do the sa

As stated before, I hate SBC, and the only thing that has held me back from switching to DSL is the requirement to use SBC as my phone company. I like my Cox phone line (since it is closer to what Cox is used to,) but don’t like Cox’s High Speed* Internet**, and would love to ditch it for a more smart and “with the times” DSL provider. If California did the same, I’d use DSL in a heartbeat!

* High Speed here is used liberally by Cox, as High Speed means “twice the speed” of normal dial-up, which in reality means anywhere between 32kbps and 384kbps, usually on the low end, depending on what they feel like setting the cap of their 10mbps pipe to at any time.

** Internet is used liberally here by Cox, since you cannot use the internet the way normal people do, unless you browse porn and occasionally send SPAM. Computers must run Microsoft operating systems or no support (including when their crap breaks and you are just reporting it to them.) And no servers are allowed, but secure authentication to their servers is also not allowed, and Windows computers infected with NIMDA, Code Red, and other viruses are allowed and encouraged, and SPAMMERS are allowed to operate with impunity as long as they use Cox’s email server, but you can not use a secure 3rd party server to send email.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Go Georgia, now if only California would do th

What exactly does your comment have to do with this topic?

It certainly has something to do with this topic, I am happy with Georgia’s decision, and wish California would do the same… I think it is rediculous that SBC has to be involved when I ask another company, such as Earthlink or Easynet, or any other DSL company to set up DSL. Why do I need to buy a phone line from SBC in order to get DSL?

If you’d take the time to read the whole comment, instead of just reading the last two paragraphs, you’d see that I am unhappy with Cox High Speed Internet, and would prefer to have the choice to use DSL instead, but cannot because it would require giving up Cox Phone Service (which I love) and going with SBC (which I hate more than Cox High Speed Internet.)

LaVerne Kolpien says:

Re: Everyone should have the option to say "No!"

I’ve been trying to get rid of my Bellsouth phone line – to switch to VarTec Telecom (I have used them in the past and liked their service). I eliminated by Bellsouth DSL in order to do that. Today VarTec told me the FCC issued a ruling just yesterday 4/18/05 that they are not allowed to establish new accounts in the State of GA. I’ve sent an email complaint to the PUC (useless I’m sure). I can’t find another landline service, so far today. I need dial up Internet – otherwise I would just go get a cellphone and have no landline. Guess I’ll have to go to cable. Just my 2 cents worth today- I HATE BELLSOUTH, I will eliminate them from my life one way or another.

cheryl says:

Re: Re: There IS no choice

What? Bellsouth has always charged a $42 activation fee for a residential line. For what pushing a few buttons on a computer! It’s not like they have to actually come out and do a service call! Cable companies only charge around 19.99 activation fee and they have to actually come to your house. Sometimes the cable companies will even wave their fee! I say Bellsouth has gotten way to big and cocky and someone needs to put them in their place!

Kerr says:

Re: Comcast cable modem bundle price

I live in Lauderhill south florida. I recently moved here from Jamaica, where, though Cable & wireless owns the copper and all major backbone, other providers have the liberty to give you what ever service you want. Now that I am here,I want High speed internet again and I am finding out that my two options are only comcast cable and Bellsouth DSL. My home here has DirectTV already so I do not need Comcast’s Cable TV service!! We also have a phone line with Comcast which is not stable. It goes out from time to time. at least once per month, the last time last week, it went out for a whole two (2) week period. yesssss!! I said two weeks!!! I am investigating my options sice I actually want Vonage phone service but there is no clear-cut way to get it Unless I stick to Comcast’s high price and get their Cable modem service ( without their TV service, since I already have DirectTV). I called supratelecom to see if I can get DSL from them, they told me that they will be offerng DSL soon and I have to have a # from either them or BellSouth, and if I go with someone else ontheir line, I woudl have to pay them a $20.00/m access charge. They have not even gotten me as a customer yet, nor have they actually roled out the service yet, but they re telling me that they are going to do this if I exercise my right to choose. The point is, I would really love to get another high speed option without having to get a phone Line from Bell south or any other company. I will certainly pay attention to how this is going to see when this can happen in Florida as in Georgia!

Paul McCarthy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA says:

Re: Dsl Service In my area; voip reliablity, NO 91

It was brought up in our area, VONAGE (voip) doesn’t hook into the local 911 to give an accurate location in the event of an emergency. Someone died, in this area because the paramedics and fire department didn’t know where the person was located. BEWARE of voip service, such as, VONAGE.
I, tried to drop my, Verizon land lind and get their DSL here. The sale price of $14.95 is only if a land line is kept; real cost, $40 a month. It sucks. Corruption of our Public Utility Commission is the reason. They take the officials who regulate them to golf outings, etc. Where are the, Bolshivics when you need them. The, Czar is still alive!

Jeff Ferris says:

Phone Service and DSL

Thanks for the Georgia Public Service Commission we are hopefully not going to be scammed by Bell South and their racketeering schemes. I am paying $51.12 for a single home phone so my 85 year old mom can call me along with the telemarketeers and $35.92 for a DSL line advertised at $24.95.
Today I called Bell South at 1-888-321-2375 /ext2 and the Bell South Agent said that if I cancelled my phone service they would cancel my DSL. Does this fly in the face of the Georgia Public Service Commission’s Order of WHAT!
The BellSouth agent said I “would have to qualify”, Duh!!! More racketeering and scamming, I smell a BellSouth Rat’s ass.
It’s time to fight back against these abusive monopolies and racketeers. I encourage you too to speak out against their abuse and double talk schemes – that is of course “if you qualify”, Ha!

CanuckleHead (user link) says:

Come to Canada

basically all the americans with some backbone left in them need to move to canada and help us vote out this harper asshole.. we can get u dsl without land lines and cheap cheap cheap living good healthcare and tons of work… hell bring the mexicans and the rest of the minorities we got work for them all. so thats the deal… no worries about what bell south is doing/plotting/scamming just some good ol canadian DSL all in exchange to help vote out stephen harper… vote for layton or vote for the liberals just keep conservatives out of office. some say a vote for a liberal is a vote for a crook but i say a vote for a politician is a vote for a criminal just remeber which criminals help out the local areas 😉

peace love empathy

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Atlanta Customer says:

All About Profit

It’s all about self-preservation. Landline subscription (Revenue) is dropping at a rapid rate and high speed Internet access demand is increasing. BellSouth is trying to prevent, orat least slow, the bleeding at the expense of customer preferences. Everything that BellSouth does is about driving the customer into spending more money. They have a monopolistic mentality and no desire to truly listen to the market’s voice. Good for Georgia! The public appreciates their effort to protect our interests.

Steve says:

Re: All About Profit

I received an email from BellSouth as I ordered DSL with the following:
*Please refer to Pricing Terms and Conditions for information about pricing, promotions and rebates.
**In Louisiana and Georgia, the prices without BellSouth retail local voice service are:
FastAccess DSL Lite – $34.95
FastAccess DSL Ultra – $42.95
FastAccess DSL Xtreme – $47.95
FastAccess DSL Xtreme 6.0 – $56.95

Of course when I called to find out to get this, they said I qualified, but then changed there minds and said I had to have a phone. Ridiculous, so I cancelled my order.

Anonymous Coward says:

I completely agree with your comments. We have recently moved to a new neighborhood that does not have cable service available. We were using a cable modem and also using a newer internet-mediated phone system and saving a considerable amount of money on phone service (particularly the astronomical taxes,FCC charges, etc that come w/a landline). We are now having to use DirectTV service and resort back to traditional landline BellSouth coverage. We are able to reconnect our internet phone service via DSL sevice but BellSouth in NC will not allow the purchase of DSL w/o a landline. Therefore, we are having to pay for a phone line we are not using and hope that incoming calls are all via the internet number and not the BellSouth number. In addition to paying for monthly DSL service, Directv service, internet phone service (it is still cheaper for any long distance calling w/o the fees noted above) and now a landline. What happened to monopolies being illegal and unethical??? I sure hope NC follows Georgia’s lead against BellSouth.

John Peterson says:

DSL w/no phone line

DSL because it is a dedicated line and not a Cable modem party line has much more consistent performance than a cable modem but the problem has always been that Verizon and BellSouth and SBC won’t let you just get the DSL line. The useless LEC phone line also has a ton of garbage taxes and charges which always make it $10 more expensive than the price they tell you. My ideal would be a DSL line with Vonage. Good job to the Georgia psc for making this if I could just get Florida to do the same.

Jim Hasbrouck says:

Impact of the AT&T BS Merger on 'Phone Free' DSL S

Today, 2/14/07, I contacted the Georgia PSC and they basically said the NEW AT&T is required by their merger agreement to offer ‘Phone Free’ DSL service… but not immediately. The timing I was given was by June 2008. Here is the text of the email I received with the relevant information in the last paragraph…

Promoting Accessibility of Broadband Service

1. By December 31, 2007, AT&T/BellSouth will offer broadband Internet access service (i.e., Internet access service at speeds in excess of 200 kbps in at least one direction) to 100 percent of the residential living units in the AT&TBellSouth in-region territory. To meet this commitment, AT&T/BellSouth will offer broadband Internet access services to t least 85 percent of such living units using wire line technologies (the “Wire line Build out Area”). AT&T/BellSouth will make available broadband Internet access service to the remaining living units using alternative technologies and operating arrangements, including but not limited to satellite and Wi-Max fixed wireless technologies. AT&T Bellsouth further commits that at least 30 percent of the incremental deployment after the Merger Closing Date necessary to achieve the Wire line build out Area commitment wi11 be to rural areas or low income living units.

2. AT&T/BellSouth will, provide an ADSL modem without charge (except for shipping and handling) to residential subscribers within the Wireline Buildout Area who, between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, replace their AT&T/BellSouth dial-up Internet access service with AT&T/BellSouth’s ADSL service and elect a term plan for their ADSL service of twelve months or greater.

3. Within six months of the Merger Closing Date, and continuing for at least 30 months from the inception of the offer, AT&T/BellSouth will offer to retail consumers in the Wire line Build out Area, who have not previously subscribed to AT&T’s or BellSouth’s ADSL service, a broadband Internet access service at a speed of up to 768 Kbps at a monthly rate (exclusive of any applicable taxes and regulatory fees) of $ 10 per month.

ADSL Service 12
1. Within twelve months of the Merger Closing Date, AT&T/BellSouth will deploy and offer within the BellSouth in-region territory ADSL service to ADSL-capable customers without requiring such customers to also purchase circuit switched voice grade telephone service. AT&T/BellSouth will continue to offer this service in each state for thirty months after the “Implementation Date” in that state. For purposes of this commitment, the “Implementation Date” for a state shall be the date on which AT&T/BellSouth can offer this service to eighty percent of the ADSL-capable premises in BellSouth’s in-region territory in that state.” Within twenty days after meeting the Implementation Date in a state, AT&T/BellSouth will file a letter with the Commission certifying to that effect. In all events, this commitment will terminate no later than forty-two months after the Merger Closing Date.

Thank you for contacting the PSC

Comcaster says:

Re: Impact of the AT&T BS Merger on 'Phone Free' D

Wow! Thats a long time.. and when I called Bellsouth/AT&T to inquire about getting internet only and cancelling my phone services, they gave me a line,”We are not sure when this will be available”. I am stuck with them. I live in an apartment that has a contract with Bellsouth and I cant get any other providers. I dont need the home phone, so I am paying like $40 a mo to let my phone collect dust. I am pissed off and I hope that this sticks and they dont wiggle their way out of this. Thanks for the info!

Comcaster,lol!No seriously!LOL!

kevin says:

DSL without a lanline AMEN

The whole reason Bell South is not getting my business. Make it the competitive lite price and forget the useless phone I have not used in 10 years since cell phone usage. Welcome to Monopoly! Get with it Bell South and all you other telephone providers that can’t move on. Find a new use for your phone lines and you will maek your money…..stop being Dinosaurs! I pay enough for each cell phone without adding an anchor of a landline…..USELESS TO ME I need no land based telephone.

kevin says:

DSL without a landline AMEN

The whole reason Bell South is not getting my business. Make it the competitive lite price and forget the useless phone I have not used in 10 years since cell phone usage. Welcome to Monopoly! Get with it Bell South and all you other telephone providers that can’t move on. Find a new use for your phone lines and you will maek your money…..stop being Dinosaurs! I pay enough for each cell phone without adding an anchor of a landline…..USELESS TO ME I need no land based telephone.

Teresa says:

phone service

I live in the country (about 4 miles out of town). I can’t get DSL out here, I don’t have cable out here, therefore, I am stuck with bellsouth’s dial up service and a land line, I pay around $65.00 a month!! With my cellphone bill I pay $230.00 a month for phones, just to have internet access!! Sucks.

JD says:

Re: phone service


charles ahrendt says:

broadband internet via power lines

internets via power line is a bad idea. cheap yes but takes away from people who use an antenna for TV reception and for radio amatuers and others who use the HF bands for emergency communications and pleasure. Radio interference and television interference can make the use of the legal services and devices untenable especially when they radiate large amounts of electromanetic radiation.

charles ahrendt says:

broadband internet via power lines

internets via power line is a bad idea. cheap yes but takes away from people who use an antenna for TV reception and for radio amatuers and others who use the HF bands for emergency communications and pleasure. Radio interference and television interference can make the use of the legal services and devices untenable especially when they radiate large amounts of electromanetic radiation.

tds is the same way.. says:

a true dsl only with NOTHING hidden in fees

my bill is $59.08 includes local and dsl. I asked them if i can only get dsl and was told no.. so after reading this I called them again to see if that was the final answer. NOw they say that i can get broadband raw which is SUPPOSE to be internet only. I asked charles what I needed to do to switch over to this and he said sign paperwork and i asked him about him about the cost included in stitching and he said $79.00 to switch everything over I was like thats high.. monthly bill for the SAME internet speed was 39.95 with taxes came back up around 51. AGAIN. he stated local calls can still be made and long distance would be .17 per minute… I was like I asked for internet ONLY.. Whats with the phone crap still.. we really wont be saving anything. I feel that they tell you is internet ONLY and still charging for the phone service.. We have a great cell phone company we dont need phone service… all of them are crooks!!! I WANT INTERNET ONLY TDS!!!!! NO PHONE SERVICE AT ALL- DO YOU UNDERSTAND

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