Ma Bell Is The Latest To Mock Naked DSL Requirements

from the no-rules-on-price,-huh? dept

As the debate surrounding the telcos has lately been focused on net neutrality, another issue that is a result of the lack of competition in the space has slipped back under the radar: naked DSL. Most of the telcos (Qwest being a notable exception) require that any customer who wants a DSL line also has to buy phone service from them as well. This is what allows them to claim they charge only $15 or whatever for a DSL line, but if you add in the phone service and additional fees it tends to be much higher. It's never made much sense that the telcos are so against just offering plain old naked DSL without the phone service. After all, for people who just want to use a mobile phone and/or VoIP, isn't that only going to encourage them to go to the competition who won't force them to bundle an unwanted service? Oh... right. There isn't much competition, which is what allows the telcos to get away with the bundle. For quite some time, there's been some pressure on SBC/AT&T to offer naked DSL in California, but the company has resisted, claiming that no one wants it (which is laughable). However, as part of the SBC/AT&T merger, one of the requirements (and basic admission that the new company had monopoly powers in some areas) was that they offer naked DSL. Not surprisingly, they looked for loopholes. They didn't take the misleading route of Verizon in announcing they offered naked DSL when the fine print showed they they really didn't, but rather went with the strategy of (1) not telling anyone they actually offered naked DSL and (2) jacking up the prices of naked DSL so that it's only $1 less than if you ordered DSL and a phone line. Yes. One whole dollar. AT&T offers a bogus response to a reporter asking about this, claiming miraculously, that the naked price "accurately reflects the real cost of DSL." If that were true, it would mean the company is selling almost all of their DSL lines at a loss -- which is ridiculous for anyone who can do a bit of math.
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  1. identicon
    Ivory Bill, 19 Jun 2006 @ 6:50am

    Re: Why doesn't TechDIrt believe in open markets?

    Why in the world would you think that landline internet service is an open market? Yes, CLECs can offer dsl, but the price they pay makes it difficult to compete on the consumer level with the Incumbent LECs. (LEC=local exchange carrier, your local telco; CLEC is a competitor LEC). As far as cable is concerned, Time Warner offers roadrunner, AOL, and Earthlink. Earthlink is the only one of the three they don't own.

    The issue is simply that the telco and cableco last-mile infrastructure was built for the benefit of the incumbent, old-line companies, and they control most of the internet access.

    I would agree with you if there were anything resembling an orderly and open market for broadband internet service, but as far as I can tell, there is no open market at this time.

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