TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Internet Without Landline?

Re: Internet Without Landline?

Robert Bonomi (
Thu, 11 Nov 2004 03:49:43 +0000

In article <>,
Robert Bonomi <> wrote:

> In article <>, Markus Dehmann
> <> wrote:

>> Is it possible to get high-speed internet access without a
>> phone/landline at home (in Maryland/U.S.)?

>> I only have a cell phone, but internet at home would be good, too. I
>> don't need a landline, though because the cell phone is enough.
>> Thanks!

>> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Yes, it is not only possible, but
>> for many folks more desirable. You get your high speed internet from
>> the cable company there in Maryland and otherwise use your cell phone
>> for voice calls. That's essentially what many folks do, or they have
>> a very inexpensive landline phone from a CLEC as a backup only. PAT]

> If you order _SDSL_ service, it always comes on a separate pair.
> *ordering* can be an 'interesting time' (in the sense of Chinese
> _curse_ :), but it can be done.

> Depending on locale -- and I have _NOT_ researched the specific case
> of Maryland -- ADSL on it's own pair *may* also be available; where
> available it is typically $5-10/mo more than 'shared' ADSL
> (piggy-backed on a POTS line). 'dry pair' ADSL is becoming more
> common than it was a year or two ago.

> Visiting the '' website, and using a next-door
> neighbor's phone number, _will_ get you a list of providers and
> service options that are available at your location.

> When actually ordering, the order usually has to go up the food-chain
> *several* layers, between the DSL provider and the ILEC. The
> situation I ran into, the DSL provider's computer system would -not-
> accept the order _without_ some sort of a 'phone number' for location,
> while the _phone_company_ (ILEC) computer would not accept the order
> *with* a phone number (it -knew- there was no phone service at that
> location). *PEOPLE* had to actually get involved from the DSL
> provider, in placing _their_ order with the phone company.

> When the install was actually done, the DSL 'field technician' was
> _really_ puzzled, cuz his paperwork showed a 'site phone number' of
> "000-0000".

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What you say is all well and good, but
> why should someone have to go to all that trouble of arguing and
> pleading with telco to get them to sell you service when you could
> just go to your cable company and have them turn it on the same day?
> And regardless of what you say about SDSL service, Southwestern Bell
> Telephone (now known as SBC) **will not** sell it to you without
> taking 'regular' phone service as well. I think it is against their
> religion or something. They do it only in California where a court
> ordered them to do so. Forget it elsewhere from SBC. People who want
> high speed internet up and running in a hurry just go to their cable
> company. PAT]

Why? Any of a large _number_ of reasons. To name a few:

1) It *isn't* always 'turn it on the same day' with the cable
companies. Not even the same *month*. or *YEAR*. Last spring a
client of mine moved into different office space in the Chicago
Loop (Jackson and Wells). Called the Cable TV company to get *TV*
hooked up; they looked up the address, and said "Oops! that
building is _NOT_WIRED_ The lead time for getting you service is
*two*years*". They got satellite TV instead.

2) In some places the cable company is _not_ an Internet access
alternative. Because they *do*not* offer Internet access.

3) Some people need a more _trustworthy_ connection than the Cable
companies provide. 'Reliability' is *not* a selling point for
cable Internet services. In Chicago, service outages are
_frequent_ (like average 3-5 times a week), although of short (30
minutes or less) duration. For 'hobby' use this is fine, but it
doesn't cut it when you're trying to use the connection for 'real

4) Some people need higher _uplink_ throughput, and/or more
'predictable' download speeds, even when a lot of their neighbors
are "on-line".

5) Trying to _keep_ Internet access running from the cable company,
when you *don't* subscribe to the cable _TV_ service, gets even
*more* interesting than trying to order DSL w/o a POTS phone line.
A friend in Philly got *sued* by the cable company -- for
'stealing' TV service, would you believe? -- because the TV techs
found this 'tap' running into his house. They disconnected it, he
called in trouble to the ISP operation, when his connection went
down; they re-connected, Next time by, the TV tech discovered the
'illegal' tap had been re-installed, and guess what? . "lather,
rinse, repeat" applies. The TV side eventually _did_ file a
lawsuit, *and* a criminal complaint. It took more than 6 months,
and several *thousand* dollars in lawyer fees to get *that* mess
straightened out. And, no, the cable company did -not- offer to
make good on the out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to *their*
failure to communicate between their departments.

BTW, SBC, in Illinois, _will_ sell SDSL to someone who does not have
'regular' phone service from SBC. It is true that they do not offer
dry-pair ADSL, but only 'shared' service.

Furthermore, SBC is _not_ the only alternative for the actual DSL
circuit, in *this* area. I have a choice of _THREE_ physical-layer
DSL providers, with more than 80 ISPs reselling connectivity through
one (or more) of those physical-layer providers. I can get 'dry pair'
ADSL from at least one of the non-SBC providers.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: By chance, were you thinking about the
Judy Sammel incident in your example above? That poor lady really had
a hellish adventure with Comcast. I am going to add her experience as
a 'feature story' on our web site sometime
soon. You can read it now, it is in the archives in the 'security-
fraud' directory, but it is all in html which makes it hard for anyone
to read in straight ASCII text. I dunno why that file never got a
straight text version made up to go along with the web site version.
Nor have I ever figured out why Judy Sammel did not sue the pants
off of Comcast for the hell and humiliation she had to endure. But
that's her business, I guess.

I guess I also forgot that not everyone lives in Independence, KS
where the workers at the local cable company, Cable One, are local
residents, where everywhere has long since been wired up and where
they are unlikely to make the sort of goof-up that Judy Sammel
endured, and where, indeed, when you go in the office downtown and
say "I would like to try X" the lady probably already knows your
address, sits at the computer, types in a few things and says, "okay,
it is turned on now, it should be working when you get back home." and
if you do have some problems then her husband, or their kid or the
other guy drives over and looks at it a few minutes after you called.
I guess I forgot that Chicago has a lot of problems, poor customer
service in cable being just a minor one.

It reminds me of the day I went to our local Social Security office
on Penn Street just north of the downtown area. When I told the ladies
there that I had formerly lived in Chicago (which is where I was at
when I was approved for Social Security Disability due to the brain
aneurysm), their eyes got big, wide like saucers.

The office manager said to me, "Well, I have never been in Chicago in
my life, but we have had to call the warehouse/service center there,
and it takes a long time to get anything done, to even get their
attention, and I work for the same bunch as they do." Then a lady
said, "Is it true when you have to go into the Social Security office,
in Chicago you have to wait an hour before your number is called for
you to get 'waited on' then you go stand in a little cubicle while
they sass at you? I've never been to Chicago either." I said that was
true, she made a clucking noise and pursed her lips.

Yeah, I guess I forgot all that when I suggested 'go for cable, get it
turned on same day'. Ditto with Prairie Stream telco. Having *local,
community residents* to deal with is a much better deal than having to
diddle around on the phone or fax for many days/weeks to get a job
done. Maybe that is my one major gripe with SBC, or Southwestern
Bell. For years, they had a single service rep and cashier over at the
combination CO/business office at 6th and Maple. When you went in to
see them, the lady would write up the paperwork, take your money or
whatever, then as needed call upstairs to the guy in the switch and
tell him what you wanted done, and it happened, same day. They also
lived right here in the community, just like the Cable One people, the
ladies who run our Social Security office, the guys at Prairie Stream
and others. PAT]

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