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Summary:

For less than $150,000 and three days of work, Qwest got the permission to sell à la carte broadband, which we blog types like to call naked DSL. In other words, it is selling high-speed broadband connections, without customers having to sign-up for its PSTN voice […]

For less than $150,000 and three days of work, Qwest got the permission to sell à la carte broadband, which we blog types like to call naked DSL. In other words, it is selling high-speed broadband connections, without customers having to sign-up for its PSTN voice service. So if they can do it, why can’t SBC, Verizon, and BellSouth? Good question – and The New York Times finally posed this question to various phone companies and cable operators and only got mealy mouthed answers.

“It’s just very complex. It’s changing the guts of the systems and processes we’ve built for five years,” said Michael D. Poling, Verizon’s vice president for broadband operations and processes.

Not true said, Richard Notebaert, CEO of Bell operator, Qwest.

“We’ve had no technical problems; we’ve had no billing problem. If the consumer wants it, why are you stiffing them?”

Ouch, for Notebaert is one of the Bell-heads. In other words, the excuses don’t really work. And what are the Bells really worried about? Qwest in a year has only 25,000 naked DSL customers. Still, this is inviting the wrath of FCC for no reason. Not to pick on Bells alone, the cable operators are equally terrible. I don’t want the mindless drivel that passes itself off as TV these days and just want broadband – so why don’t just sell Internet access to me. I would gladly pay an extra $5 bucks for the privilege. Consumer groups want FCC to mandate and force à la carte broadband policies.

(By the way what really pisses me off is that most of the San Francisco apartment buildings wire-up the door buzzers with a land line – forcing me to get a local phone connection for no reason. This should come out of rent, because they are cheap enough to not put internal systems like they have in NY.)

  1. Just for the record, my cable provider, WOW Internet & Cable, provides naked connections as standard procedure with several speeds available.

    It’s not cheap, but it’s blazing fast, reliable, and they have given me excellent customer service.My neighbor have it too, and he is just as satisfied.

    And just today a friend of mine said he’s switching to WOW because of poor quality & service from Comcast. There is a market opportunity for small providers to step in and steal market share.

    As always it seems, the big boys are feeling fat & sassy in their monopolies, so it’s time for folks to switch to the hungry, scapping newcomers who actually care about our business.

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  2. You are lucky to have that option, but unfortunately it is not an option for a lot of us. any more naked broadband providers? send me the information so we can post it here for rest of the readers

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  3. Fuuny that Dick and company called it a “stupid” idea back in 2003 when as a wholesale reseller at the time, we suggested it as an alternative to losing customers to other providers.

    Now they are taking credit for something they didn’t think of themselves. Nice going… Dick.

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  4. Oh and by the way, all the others (SBC, Verizon and BellSouth) were asked the same thing as well. Why not sell it as a stand alone?

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  5. damn… see i must be getting old. should have remembered that as well. thanks for letting me know again frank

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  6. If you view DSL or a cable modem as a ‘service’ beyond the utilities’ base offering, then this becomes a more interesting discussion.

    Covad, et al took the position that high frequency sharing for DSL should be at zero cost to them. It was an incremental cost to the telco. Now comes ‘naked’ DSL, and the demand that it be both available and (for cable modem service) at no higher retail price than service using incremental costing.

    That leads to this question: Who and how are the local loop costs to be paid?

    Have the outside plant and all associated maintence costs been reduced to incremental as well?

    I don’t buy Verizon or SBC’s claim they ‘can’t do it’ but something about this argument that there are no fixed and common costs associated with the loop and outside plant just doesn’t make sense.

    Side note: I don’t know if it’s online, (probably as a closed caption transcript) but Verizon and SBC were on CSPAN 2 on Tuesday giving HoR testimony about their mergers with MCI and AT&T. Naked DSL was on of the questions from the Wisconsin representative.

    Interesting dancing around this topic by both Ivan and Ed.

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  7. Mark, in my mind there is no doubt that they own the local loop. i just want them to sell me the service i want, and not some bundle they think i should have.

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  8. Om -

    Since switching to VOIP via Cable, I lost my intercom system… no way other than a direct call to get to us.

    If we had DSL (our building gets preferred pricing on both cable and DSL) I think it would be the same since I would not want to use the phone part of the connection.

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  9. that’s a neat little scandal and way to get the money out of tennants. one of my favorite pet peeves. well one has to learn and live without an intercom system.

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  10. As for bundling and if you apply the scope of it to apply, there is still a rule called Cross Subsidization – 47 C.F.R. § 64.901(c):

    A telecommunications carrier may not use services that are not competitive to subsidize services subject to competition. Services included in the definition of universal service shall bear no more than a reasonable share of the joint and common costs of facilities used to provide those services.

    So in forcing a customer to have basic phone service to get DSL, this could apply because the two services are under different classifications.

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