A Verizon spokesman confirmed today that the company is telling customers that beginning May 6 it will no longer offer stand-alone DSL service without a voice line. Instead DSL will be sold only as part of a bundle that also includes landline voice. Existing customers of the stand-alone DSL offering (sometimes called “naked” DSL) will be able to keep their service without adding voice, but if they make virtually any change to their account—including moving or changing the speed of their connection—they will have to add voice.

Verizon’s move came to light in a DSL Reports post yesterday.

DSL Reports got hold of an email being sent to current stand-alone DSL users outlining the changes and also noting that existing stand-alone users can make changes to the speed of their service or change their bundle to add DIRECTV or Verizon Wireless service prior to May 6 without being required to add voice service.

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Verizon provided Telecompetitor with the full text of the email, which is available at this link.

In a statement, Verizon said it was making the move so that it can control its cost structure more effectively, “enabling us to continue providing competitively priced services to existing and new customers.”

The company noted that: “The vast majority of our DSL customers enjoy it as part of a bundle with reliable home voice and TV service. By bundling, customers receive a better overall experience and value by having multiple services as part of a package.”

The reference to “reliable home voice service” is likely a jab at over-the-top VOIP providers such as Vonage. Undoubtedly some stand-alone DSL customers are using the service to support such OTT voice offerings as a lower-cost alternative to Verizon landline voice service.

The DSL Reports author accused Verizon of taking a “surprising and bizarre step backwards”—a reference to the fact that large telcos initially refused to offer stand-alone DSL, which runs over the same copper wiring that traditionally carried only voice service.  The author also takes the position that “Verizon’s latest effort is only the latest indication by Verizon that they’re focused on wireless and really not particularly interested in legacy users, having sold off many DSL markets—and now eager to bleed the rest of them.”

On the surface it would seem to me that Verizon’s move will simply motivate existing stand-alone DSL customers to switch to a different broadband service—if not initially then whenever they need to make a change. But perhaps Verizon is betting that a substantial number of these customers will be in markets where FiOS is available and will switch to a FiOS data offering instead.

The Verizon spokesman confirmed that the company offers stand-alone DSL in multiple markets in 12 states, plus the company’s D.C. wireline service area.  I’m sure not all of those markets have FiOS available. But I’m sure a substantial number of them do.

Viewed in that light, the company is simply hastening a trend away from DSL and toward cable modem and fiber-based broadband that is occurring anyway.

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10 thoughts on “Verizon to End Stand-Alone DSL Service

    1. BOB

      That's a great question. We don't know what monetary compensation Verizon gets for signing up cable customers but this move implies that whatever that cut is, it's more than the company makes on naked DSL.

  1. So… This means that those who already have Standalone DSL service, as long as they don't change their current plan, don't have to order phone service in order to keep their DSL service?

  2. It is probably a combination of factors. One, people trying to order DSL without a landline are likely ordering the lowest level of service. Two, Verizon has determined that the incremental cost of service to someone is more than the cost of the lowest level of service and thus unprofitable. I have run similar cost studies in the past. Therefore, they have chosen not to offer the service without a landline. Verizon has a different pricing structure on DSL than others, but it might actually be the case that they might make available one of their more expensive plans without a landline.

    Independents seem to be really anxious to do naked DSL, but I doubt many of them have run a decent incremental cost study to support it. Then again, there are still a lot of Independents that have a minimum DSL cost of $40 or more and it is somewhat of a different tradeoff than a sub $20 plan.

  3. The crazy thing is when you think about it, VZ has their tentacles in so many things, it's difficult to determine what their motive is:

    a) incent people to move to FiOS
    b) try to move people to HomeFusion LTE
    c) clear the way for their new cable partners
    d) all of the above

    Lot's of bases covered, I guess.

    1. Not the move-to-FiOS option; they stopped deploying FiOS even before they entered into their noncompete agreement with the cable companies.

  4. It doesn't help that I'm in a market where FIOS is not available, wanting to upgrade, but not being able to.

    I've had Verizon DSL for ten years and a landline from Verizon for about 20.
    I don't know what this has to do with anything but ironically, over the past year I've had about 6 days where my phone has been totally out of service as well as my internet. Both times the problem has been outside the house. So while my landline was formerly (I don't think I had so much as five minutes of "down" phone service prior to 2005) near perfect, it's now starting to verge on an unreliable service.

    So it seems like Verizon has doomed me to second hand internet, and now second tier phone service as well. Thanks, Verizon!

  5.  I found this article just today (May 7th 2012). It effect us because we have DSL only service here in North East PA. It will be sometime in 2050 by the time we get fios here (ok, at least 2020 🙂 ). Cable is not available and DishHughesDirectTv is sketchy at best for internet service. So If I need to change anything that means my bill will double at least. This isn’t fair. We have wireless service for phone(s) but that’s prohibitive and slow compared even to DSL for internet(even wireless access points are not dependable). We also use Magic Jack for all our calls (which as mentioned is a hit on their landline service). This leaves us out in the cold and forced to pay extra for a needless service.

  6. Yeah, you can look at it as Verizon trying to push you where they want you to go, or as Verizon just going with the trends. But if stand-alone DSL is what you want you can still find services like atndsl.com that can provide it. It looks like wireless is the future though, IMHO.

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