Last year when AT&T bought Bellsouth they had to agree to make DSL available for only $10 per month to existing phone customers who did not yet have DSL service with Bellsouth. They started offering this in July or so. But they also were required to offer DSL service without phone service for $19.95 per month to anyone in the Bellsouth service area. My plan was to wait for this and then drop my home phone service (about all I use my home phone for is dial-up internet and receiving unsolicited phone calls from my credit card company and non-profit organizations). The DSL service would actually cost less than my phone line. According to today’s paper, they started offering this on December 20, calling it FastAccess DSL Direct. The plan is actually DSL Lite, their slowest service with speeds “up to” 768 kilobits per second. My dialup is up to 50.6 kbps and right now is 48 kbps, so it should be a big speed upgrade even though AT&T offers plans of up to 3,000 kbps and 1,500 kbps.
The only catch is that you have to pay $75 for a modem. If you order DSL service over the web you can get a rebate of the $75, but you can only order the stand-alone DSL service over the phone. AT&T has to offer the $19.95 service for 30 months, so over a couple of years I wasn’t worried about the $75 for the modem. I called the toll-free number, 1-800-626-9149, waited on hold for about 20 minutes, and was ready to order. They were even going to cancel my phone service at the same time. I asked if there was any way to order this online so that I didn’t have to pay $75 for the modem. They said I could go ahead and order DSL lite online, get the modem, file the rebate, and then call AT&T and have them cancel my phone service and start giving me the $19.95 deal. So I’m going to try that. I can’t do it right now because they initiated an order for me and I have to wait a couple of hours before that order will be out of the system. It’s like waiting 2 hours to go swimming after you eat lunch.