Monday, April 23, 2007

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Dry Loop DSL

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

get dsl without a landline with dry loop dsl

If this is your first visit to Punny Money, there’s a 75% chance you came here via a search engine. And if you came from a search engine, there’s a 1 in 10 probability that you were looking for information on “Dry Loop DSL.” Unfortunately for you, the only news you’ll find here on dry loop DSL is one of my many rants against Verizon.

But since so many of you are arriving here looking for information on dry loop DSL, it’s about time I write a proper article to tell you everything you need to know… in short-attention-span FAQ form!

Frequently Asked Questions About Dry Loop DSL

What is DSL?

DSL stands for digital subscriber line and is one of the high-speed internet services many phone companies around the world have to offer. Unlike cable or fiber-optic internet, DSL needs only an existing phone line to service your home or business. And unlike dial-up, it’s not stupidly slow. Since DSL uses existing phone lines and is normally offered by telecommunications providers, it is usually packaged with land-line telephone service.

What is “dry loop” DSL?

Dry loop DSL, sometimes called “naked” or “cheap hooker” DSL, is DSL internet service not packaged with land-line telephone service. A home or business can have dry loop DSL without needing a land-line phone or dial tone.

What’s so great about dry loop DSL?

Dry loop DSL is exactly the same as packaged DSL except you don’t have to pay for a land-line. As cellular phones become more and more popular, many people are opting to ditch their expensive and rarely used land-line phone service and use only a cell phone. Until a couple of years ago, this posed a problem for DSL customers who were required to have a land-line phone in order to subscribe to DSL service.

Are there any differences in service quality between dry loop and packaged DSL?

As far as I know, there shouldn’t be. It’s the same DSL service as packaged. Some users report slower speeds on a dry loop; others report faster speeds.

When did dry loop DSL service begin?

Dry loop DSL started popping up in the U.S in 2004. Originally offered only by Qwest Communications, it is now offered by a couple other companies, most notably Verizon.

How can I find out if dry loop DSL is available in my area?

Within the United States, dry loop DSL is not yet widely available. It may be available in some parts of certain states and not available in others. Here are some of the webpages you can use to search if a telecom offers dry loop in your area.

Verizon (yes, the page looks a little funny, but it works)
http://www22.verizon.com/forhomedsl/channels/dsl/dryloop/

Qwest
http://www.qwest.com/residential/internet/dslstandalone.html

Speakeasy
http://www.speakeasy.net/home/onelink/

If dry loop isn’t yet available in your area, that may soon change. Thanks to some recent big telecom mergers, AT&T and Verizon have been ordered by the Federal Communications Commission to expand their dry loop availability. Try again in a few months and it might be available then.

Outside of the United States, there are several countries where you can find dry loop DSL. Canada, for example, supports dry loop, and a few companies there offer it for an additional fee. Other countries, like the United Kingdom, do not yet have support for dry loop DSL.

How much does dry loop DSL cost?

Dry loop DSL is usually a tad costlier than a DSL service packaged with land-line service. For example, some cheaper DSL services are $15/month when you also sign up for $40/month land-line service; the same DSL service may cost you $20/month when purchased unbundled with a land-line. But if you rarely or never use your land-line, you’ll still save a bundle of money by getting rid of the land-line and paying a few bucks extra a month for DSL.

In some areas, dry loop DSL costs the same as packaged DSL. As with land-line prices, DSL service charges vary from one place to another. Sometimes next-door neighbors are even quoted different prices on the same phone or DSL services. You’ll have to ask your DSL provider for their fees at your location.

I have land-line service right now. Can I switch to dry loop?

If it’s available in your area, yes. You should be able to call up a service provider and ask them to activate dry loop DSL. You don’t even need to get dry loop DSL from the same provider as your current land-line or packaged service.

Note that there may still be additional setup fees involved with switching from bundled to dry loop DSL.

I have no phone service right now. Can I start on a dry loop?

Eh, probably not without first signing up for a land-line, especially if you’re looking to get Verizon’s dry loop service. Verizon will almost certainly require you to start on a package deal, but you can drop the land-line as soon as the DSL service is activated. As usual, there may be additional fees involved with adding or dropping services.

I want dry loop DSL service, but I also want to make calls from my home phone.

You’re in luck! Simply sign up for dry loop DSL service and you can pick from one of the many voice over IP (VoIP) providers which should run just fine on dry loop internet. And they’ll usually cost a lot less per month than land-line telephone service.

Anything else I should know before signing up for DSL service?

Yes. Depending on what company you sign up with for dry loop DSL, you may be in a position of having to deal with several companies if issues arise. For example, read about one person’s experience when Speakeasy provided the DSL, Covad leased the phone lines, and Verizon owned the residential phone box. To summarize, one company screwing up could break your dry loop DSL service even if another company provides the actual service. Not only that, but getting the situation repaired can be tricky.

As with any service, your experience may vary. If possible, sign up for a trial period with no early termination fee. Don’t hesitate to file complaints about companies whose incompetence interferes with your internet service.

Do you have a question about dry loop DSL? Add a comment and ask!

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