Tuesday, June 19, 2007

AT&T Launches $10 DSL

AT&T has quietly begun offering DSL service for $10 per month for new customers. Offered as part of the concessions made to the Federal Communications Commission in order to gain approval for its merger with BellSouth, the speed is nothing to get excited about: 768Kbps down and 128Kbps up. However for the budget minded or those in an area that will only allow these speeds its a great way to save $60/year

AT&T is doing little to publicize the new offering. In fact, most people looking for the low-price service have only been able to find it by clicking on the Terms and Conditions link at he bottom of AT&T's residential high-speed Internet product page. A note on AT&T Yahoo! High-Speed Internet buried six paragraphs down says that the "basic speed ($10.00)" tier is available to new customers only, those who have not subscribed to AT&T or BellSouth DSL during the past 12 months, and the service requires a one-year contract.

Customers must also order phone service to get the budget-priced DSL service; those looking for cheap, naked DSL should look elsewhere. Those living in BellSouth's former territory can get naked DSL for the next two-and-a-half years, however. The terms of the merger state AT&T is only required to offer the $10 per month tier for the next two-and-a-half years. After that, the company is free to make whatever changes it wants to the service.

While this is not a top notch deal, it is fairly good for those that haven't yet made the switch from dial-up, anyone on a tight budget or those of you that only browse the net and check emails.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:48 PM

    'Naked DSL': how to find and get the best price
    By Michael Sorkin
    Friday, Jan. 18 2008

    Here's something you should know when you order DSL service from AT&T: The
    company sells the same speed Internet service at $10, $15 and $20 per month.

    — The $14.99 service is called Basic DSL and is the easiest to get. Anyone with
    an AT&T landline phone can order it by phone or online.

    — The $10 DSL service can be ordered only online, and hundreds of consumers
    have had trouble signing up for this, the company's cheapest-ever DSL. AT&T
    says it won't sell it to anyone who is already an AT&T Internet customer.

    — The newest Internet service is called DSL Direct Basic and costs $19.95. It
    can be ordered only through an AT&T call center, but some sales reps say they
    have never heard of it.

    There are four DSL Direct plans; the $19.95 version is the cheapest and
    slowest. The Direct plans are the only ones AT&T will sell consumers without
    AT&T landlines.

    This type of service is known as "naked DSL."

    Each DSL Direct plan costs at least $4 more per month than the same plan for
    customers who have AT&T landline phones.

    DSL users don't need a phone; Internet service works fine without one.

    AT&T is free to charge the higher prices because Internet rates are unregulated.

    As for the $10, $15 and $20 Internet plans described above, all are rated at
    the same speed: up to 768 Kbps downstream. That's too slow for downloading
    movies but may be fine for e-mailing or Internet surfing.

    Why charge three prices for the same speed?

    AT&T spokesman Andy Shaw says customers have different needs. It's not unusual,
    he says, for companies to offer different customers different prices.

    AT&T offered $10 DSL reluctantly. The company already was charging higher
    prices for Internet service and had no incentive to offer it so cheaply.

    As for naked DSL, AT&T wants to sell you as many services as possible:
    landline, Internet, cell phone and video. That's called bundling. Naked lets
    consumers avoid bundling by choosing only what they want.

    But about a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission required AT&T to
    offer the lower-cost services in exchange for approving its purchase of

    AT&T began quietly offering $10 DSL about midyear on its website. AT&T said it
    would not provide a phone number or e-mail address for anyone needing help.

    By the end of the year, the company also began offering naked DSL. It is
    quickly gaining popularity with the growing number of computer users who have
    traded landlines for cells.

    The FCC is requiring AT&T to offer a naked DSL plan for less than $20. An AT&T
    spokesman said last month that consumers shouldn't sign up for the $19.95
    service online or by calling. He told them to go to company stores.

    That advice turned out to be wrong, and Savvy received more than a dozen

    Mindy Lynn Thomason, a financial analyst from St. Charles, hurried to an AT&T
    store, where "they told me I could only sign up by calling."

    She called — and reached a sales rep who said he couldn't help her.

    This week, AT&T's Shaw offered different advice: He said to sign up for the
    $19.95 Direct Basic only through a company call center.

    That $19.95 plan is AT&T's cheapest naked DSL service — and the only one for
    which the company requires a 12-month contract. The other plans are

    AT&T's site says to call 1-800-288-2020 to sign up for its more expensive DSL
    Direct plans ($23.99 to $38.99.) We reached a sales rep who said he knew
    nothing about any such plans and transferred us to 1-800-264-0002.

    As first reported by hearusnow.org on the Consumers Union website, AT&T is
    asking callers seeking naked DSL to provide their AT&T landline phone number.
    We were asked three times.

    But consumers who want naked DSL won't have a landline — and don't want one.
    That's why they want naked.

    "They want to sell you a phone line," Thomason said after her experience.

    She says after nearly a day, she finally connected with a sales rep who signed
    her up for AT&T's $28.99 Direct Pro DSL plan. Service started this week, and
    she's delighted.

    But she chides the company for making it so hard: "They do a good job of hiding

    We called AT&T's Shaw, who responded:

    "I apologize. We want everyone who calls in to be a customer. The vast majority
    of these orders work. Sometimes we make a mistake, and we try to fix it."

    msorkin@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8347
    It’s a real chore to find the unbundled DSL price that’s advertised, but here is the direct link.


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