How To Get ATT Naked DSL (Redux)

When reader Nick tried to sign up for ATT “naked DSL” or “dry loop” service (getting DSL without having paying for a landline), a curious thing happened.

AT&T said his address doesn’t exist. But when he went through the process to sign up for bundled service, more expensive, with landline phone service, magically, it could find his address.

This is odd when you consider a customer service rep later said both options draw from the same database. It’s not odd when you consider that AT&T only made naked DSL available because the FCC made them in exchange for letting them do some fancy business transactions, and then initially made it very confusing for people to try to sign up.

So here’s the secret process Mike figured out:

1. Head to http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=11523

2. Check Availability. If it gives you trouble (as if you don’t know where you live),

3. Check DSL availability via their main website as if you’re looking to purchase a bundle package. It checks a separate database. If it says you’re eligible:

a. Call 1-800-288-2020. Ask about “High Speed Internet Direct”, “dry loop” or “stand alone” DSL at your address. If you have equipment, ask them to waive the option to get a modem/router.

b. If they resist, call back until you get a CSR that’ll work with you.

Part of the problem is that some of the call center reps don’t know what they’re talking about and try to insist you need a landline or cellphone service with AT&T to get DSL. This is not true. Keep calling back until you find one that does, making sure you use the magic words “High Speed Internet Direct”, “dry loop” or “stand alone DSL.”

Comments

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  1. Bourque77 says:

    So the FCC required them to offer this special price but never said that they had to make it easy to get or actually give it to the consumer?

  2. Lonetree says:

    I signed up for naked DSL with AT&T last January and couldn’t have had an easier process. The phone rep never suggested any bundling and waived the equipment fee without any hassle. I even have one of those mysterious 1/2 addresses that goofs up their system and he fixed it pretty quickly.

    • souhaite says:

      @Lonetree: We’ve got it too, and they didn’t try to make it hard to set up. But try checking your account online or making a payment with anything other than a check in the mail – are you having any success with that?

      We’ve tried to set up an autopay three times, and each time one CS rep has said it was up and running and another has said their systems aren’t set up to offer it for dry loop. I think they’re trying to recoup through late fees what they don’t get in bundled services. You can’t get into their online systems because they won’t recognize an account number that isn’t a phone number (e.g., ours starts with 000 instead of an area code).

      So far, our experiences with ATT and their dry loop has been abysmal. We’ve even tried complaining to the state PUC and the FCC, but gotten no responses from either.

  3. No, what’s odd is that the FCC requires companies to offer these things and then never checks to make sure they’re being offered.

    Ever.

    How hard is it to have some staffers try to sign up for these services as a consumer would and report the results?

    • NightSteel says:

      @twophrasebark:

      What staffers? Government departments that don’t have to do with war or law enforcement have been cut to the bone, and are being cut more all the time.

  4. k6richar says:

    In Canada Bell has a monopoly over the phone lines. They don’t have a problem giving you dry loop dsl, they are still making money hand over fist off you. If you go to another dsl wholesaler to get dryloop dsl you have to pay an extra band-rate (usually about 10 dollars) for Bells upkeep on the lines.

  5. Jthon says:

    I’ve found that AT&T offers the dry loop option on their website. The problem is that when I looked into it the cost of the dry loop DSL was actually more than the cost of regular DSL + metered phone (this basic $5.25 a month service is hard to find on the site).

    Combined with the various Modem discounts it worked out better for me to pass up dry loop. Since I got a couple months free and a free modem.

    Post sign up they did raise some of those “random” fees that they tack on so I now pay a dollar or two more per month than straight dryloop. Since I use the landline every time I call an 800 number to avoid using cell minutes while on hold or navigating horrid phone trees I find this a useful tradeoff.

  6. stanhubrio says:

    Now I feel taken; we signed up for DSL in December and were told that we absolutely had to get a landline. I see an angry phone call in my future…

  7. Mr_D says:

    I have dryloop. My main problem was that when signing up, either the account specialist or I transposed the numbers… all AT&T dryloop phone numbers start with 081. I kept giving them 018. It took about 2 hours on the phone before somebody figured this out.

    The next day, a tech was out and my my jacks were wired up, and I didn’t even get charged. It’s been fine since. Interestingly, my bill is exactly 40 dollars, which is their price for the midrange dryloop service in my area. No taxes, fees, or other surcharges.

  8. nataku8_e30 says:

    I used AT&T’s dry loop (naked) DSL for a few months at the beginning of the year. They made it essentially unbearable, from the install to the cancellation. I guess the tech support and billing is all separate from the rest of AT&T, but there’s no external number so you need to navigate through the normal phone tree, get someone who can connect you to the dry loop phone tree and then navigate through that. When I finally canceled, I sent them full payment for the last month, even though I canceled halfway through (they required this) and then they sent it to collections 3 weeks after cashing my check! I was able to get them to fix it after a few hours on the phone, but boy was it a hassle. I don’t think the dry loop really even saves any money over having a basic phone line + traditional DSL. FCC – you really need to enforce this!

  9. miguelggarcia says:

    Hmm… I have the Elite service (6Mbps down) at $35 per month without telephone service.
    Here’s what I did:
    -Go to att.com> Shop for internet > Choose plan > Select “If you don’t have a telephone, search availability by address > You input your address, confirm that you wrote the right address > Choose “Order High Speed Internet Only” > The choice of plans will show up (starting with “Basic service” for 19.95, up to the Elite plan for $45) In my case, it showed me that the plan I wanted required more information to process and to call “1-800-288-2020 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm CT”.
    When I called I got the Elite service for $35 instead that $45,l I got my modem two days later and my service is much faster than any other internet service I’d had before.

  10. Finine says:

    I have been considered downgrading our bundled service to get rid of the landline. Curious if anyone has been successful doing this? We have DSL, landline (that we NEVER use), and Dish. Want to just have DSL and Dish.

  11. SuperJdynamite says:

    Although the FCC requires that former monopoly telcos offer local loop unbundling said telcos are not required to be your DSL head end via a dry loop.

    In other words, if you want your DSL provider to be Krazy Karl’s Kut Rate DSL then the network owner would be required to allow a dry loop between you and Karl, but the network owner is not required to offer you DSL sans land line. The telco can offer you whatever they want. If you don’t like it then go hit up Krazy Karl.

  12. codpilot says:

    Yep, address already has dsl and phone (cell won’t really work in the house) tried looking up my address (hasn’t changed since the house was built in 1969) and…. Amazing, address not found – not through any method.

    Hmmm

    Conspiracy theorists unite!

    Oh yeah I have the “6M” line. and if you don’t leave the city, sure enough – otherwise more like a 3M line. sigh

  13. tweaked says:

    dry loop is a pain in Canada as well… my roommates and i all have cell phones, so i have dry loop service through Bell Canada. huge ordeal getting the service actually installed, both when i first signed up, and when i moved last year. enough complaining though to a tier 2 CSR got me two months free service, for what wasn’t more than a month without service. so i was content.

  14. FionaMallard says:

    I have ATT DSL with no landline. I couldn’t get my service registered
    once it was set-up because my phone number wasn’t being recognized
    when I submitted it through their installation software, so I called
    tech support. They couldn’t find me by my (cell) phone number, my
    address, or my SSN, even though I received a letter and my modem in
    the mail, *and* an ATT DSL tech physically came into my apartment*
    without me even calling, because he couldn’t get any signal from my
    line. Finally, I figured out that my “phone number” was some made-up
    number that is also my account number, even though it was never listed
    as such on my installation letter. I still find it baffling that they
    couldn’t find me by my address, even though they have contacted me by
    mail more than once.

  15. Imakeholesinu says:

    BEWARE!!! Dryloop dsl price promotions only last 6months! I was told by one CSR it would last 12 months. Then when I called to increase my speed to 3MB, not only was I not able to get 3MB in my area (all the sudden they discontinue it when my neighbors have it next door) but the next bill went from 23.99 to 29.00 for 1.5MB service!!! AT&T is slowly but surely killing off dryloop service by installing u-verse in areas that have a lot of dryloop service.

  16. keehun says:

    I’m able to verify the post… Address isn’t found on the dry-loop but is available on regular (the higher end) DSL.

    [www.grabup.com]

    Top is the standalone thing and bottom is the regular (higher end) DSL service. I smell rotting fish in AT&T.

  17. six3amc says:

    Coincidentally just signed up yesterday and tried to do the dry loop thing without even realizing it was something special just ’cause I wanted to use Vonage instead of their phone service. They wouldn’t let me proceed through the signup without getting a landline and a long-distance package… So much for saving money by using vonage. Oh. And trying to find a phone number to sign up was impossible. No other options… Sucks.

  18. forgottenpassword says:

    Man…. some of you all should invest in a wifi card & a good outdoor wifi antenna. Then…. free internet! WOOT!

    btw… does anyone else think the term “dry loop” sounds dirty/disgusting?

  19. Toof_75_75 says:

    I recently (4 months ago) signed up for Verizon’s Dry-Loop DSL and had surprisingly helpful service reps on the phone system and overall had a pretty easy time of it. Also, the service has been nearly perfect. To be honest, I was expecting much worse service and was pleasantly surprised.

  20. bonzombiekitty says:

    I don’t have any landline phone service at all.
    Come to think of it…. I don’t even know where there’s even any phone jacks in my house. I can’t figure out how to check availability on the at&t website solely by address. If I put in my address and zip code it says I need to enter a valid phone number. If I put in 123-456-7891 as my phone number, it says service is available. I thought Verizon was the main service provider around here (they should be the ones that own all the lines), and Verizon says it’s not available.

  21. wheresmysamuraii says:

    If you have a landline and dsl service, dropping to just dry loop is a piece of cake. I did just that a few months ago. All I did was call and a nice service rep switched me right over. I’m sure the process would be harder if no previous service was ever established, but potentially doable.

    If you get a rep that doesn’t know what the heck you’re talking about, hang up and call back.

  22. JohnDeere says:

    i did this 2 days ago, and spoke with a customer service representitive named Quincy Mitchell. It was the most painless dealings with any customer service represesititive ever. it didnt take 5 minutes to have my house phone shut off and my dsl left alone. it even kept my old number for my account number and he said if i ever wanted my phone back i could get the same number. now thats service.

  23. reimero says:

    As far as the “unable to find address” thing is concerned, I think that’s less a case of malicious intent and more a case of databases not talking to each other correctly. I’ve been a DSL subscriber for several years, but I keep my eye out for bundled services and other options to save money. Depending on what path I take to check availability of services in my area, sometimes they’re there and sometimes they’re not. For instance, I was just checking on U-Verse availability, and one route said it was not available, another route said it was (it’s just been rolled out in my area.)

    So for the moment, I’m willing to blame poor web design, at least in part.

    • rekoil says:

      @reimero: Well the malicious intent is the fact that AT&T hasn’t bothered to put resources into making sure those databases *do* talk to each other. If they ignore it, hopefully it will go away.

  24. theblackdog says:

    I went through a similar experience to get dry loop DSL from Verizon. I ended up calling the local Verizon office and they were able to find my address and hook me up.

  25. skooks777 says:

    We started with DSL+landline, but dropped the landline when we found out about dryloop. When they switched us over, ATT changed our account number, and I forgot to update that with my internet banking bill pay, so the next two months’ payments (on time, I might add) went to the old account. Eventually they turned off service. We figured it all out (the credit on the old account matched the deficit on the new one exactly), and they promised service would be on within 4 hours. Over the next week, through multiple calls and multiple customer service reps, we were told that dryloop was “not available in your area.” Really? Cause it was available 4 days ago. It was a total disaster. Eventually we canceled the whole thing and switched to Time Warner.

  26. limiter says:

    I have stand alone DSL from ATT and it was very easy to order. The person on the phone knew what I was talking about and quickly setup the work order…

    Of course turning on the DSL was a whole different story. Since I didn’t have a phone number, when I called they had no idea how to help me, I was transferred from one department to another over and over.

    Once it was working I did not have any trouble. My bill is exactly $34 no taxes or fees listed. I did not get the impression that ATT was trying to hide the DSL only service, at least when I ordered.

  27. casianoa says:

    I signed up for this two months ago and didn’t have a problem. It costs me $20/month. It wouldn’t let me sign up for it on the internet even though other services were available in my area. When I called in they told me it wasn’t available. Frustrated, I hung up and called back. I reached a lady who was very helpful and she got me set up in no time. It really does depend on who you speak with.

  28. Illusio26 says:

    The only problem I have with dry loop is trying to set up and online account. Every time I enter my 081 phone number it tells me that’s not a valid account. I hate having to write a stupid check every month.

  29. dieselman8 says:

    I never had a problem getting at&t to offer me dry loop. The real issue was why they had to charge an extra $4-$5 for it.

  30. jessemoya says:

    I had a similar difficulty getting dry loop DSL from Verizon.

    What I hadn’t expected was to be charged $50 for a wireless dongle for my laptop! They won’t refund it, so I have to talk to my credit card company about getting money back for something I didn’t order. Beware!

  31. agnamus says:

    I signed up for dry loop yesterday. Had problems with the website, called, waited on hold for a half hour, and they hooked up my service in 5 minutes without pushing other services. Prices were higher than the website, though, and I couldn’t get an equipment discount. Oh, well. It’s better than Comcast. I canceled them after my bill went up to $120. The weird thing is that Comcast made no effort to retain me.

  32. graceless says:

    Handy hints and helpful tips…

  33. RStewie says:

    At&T said they don’t provide service in my area for this. Then they asked if my house had PHONE SERVICE. I said Yes. The house has been here since 1960, and had phone service the whole time.

    We finally gave up and got AT&T’s 3G USB modem. Which ALSO isn’t working. Although the tech my SO was on the phone with yesterday offered to call him today and assist him with attempting to get the damn thing to work on our desktop.

    So is that whole “you can’t get stand-alone DSL” legitimate, based on where I live? EVEN THOUGH I have a phone line in the house??

  34. phate says:

    I’m slightly curious why ATT dislikes dryloop dsl, they are still making money off of it. Its been proven that naked dsl is something people want, so much so that Qwest offers it outright no need to hunt or fight for it. They even have a sensible (albeit long) url for it: [www.qwest.com] Hell you can get to it from the fron page.

  35. spadefoot says:

    When I go to their page, the only offer they have for naked DSL is the following:
    AT&T wants you to know you DO have options.
    AT&T can bring you the high-speed Internet you need
    and the bandwidth you want-without getting home phone service. Surf, email and download files
    simultaneously. For a low price of
    only $37.95 per month, you can enjoy- AT&T FastAccess® DSL
    Direct Ultra† with no home phone service required.
    For only $37.95/month
    No activation fee
    No term commitment
    Everyday Low Price

    Up to 10 email accounts
    Email storage capacity up to 500 Mb
    Personal Web page space up to 10 Mb
    Downstream speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps
    State-of-the-art firewall software that protects your computer
    from unauthorized attacks and email viruses

    *** $37.95 for 1.5 down (and probably 128 or 256 up)? That’s a pretty lousy deal, or so it seems to me.

  36. EditorinChief says:

    Someday, we will not have to jump through hoops to get what we want as consumers.

    Until then, there are informative posts like this.

    It sounds like I’m getting checks from consumerist. (not)

  37. IAmMarchHare says:

    I’ll echo the others who had DSL + landline and dropped the landline. I called AT&T because I can never navigate their web site (another overpaid web designer). I got signed up OK, but I can no longer use online bill pay because it wants a “phone number”. Helloo??!!! I don’t have a $&#*(^% phone number! The silly account number they use doesn’t work either. Oh, well, I can still pay by bank, and they can still waste the 42 cents to mail me paper (stupid, stupid, stupid).

  38. HenryPython says:

    I can tell you one better.

    I read about the offer the first time it was posted on CONSUMERIST and since
    I had local and DSL with AT&T, I decided to drop my phone line and get the
    naked DSL.
    So I called them up one day and asked them about it and they told me yes it
    was available, but they had to check to see if the ‘dry loop’ was in my
    area. They put me on hold for a few minutes then said it would be alright
    and that I could switch to it if I wanted. Before I had them switch me, I
    asked if the rate for my service was a promo and if the rates would go up
    after a certain period of time, and they told me that it wouldn’t but I
    would have to sign up for a 12 month contract to switch to naked DSL. This
    had me puzzled so I asked why would I need to sign a contract if there is no
    promo pricing and they weren’t giving me any equipment since I already had a
    DSL modem that I paid for when I first got my service. The rep just told me
    it was a requirement when switching over to naked DSL. I then asked him for
    details on the naked dsl program and he gave me the website that I believe
    the Consumerist pointed out. On the website, it says specifically that there
    is no contract and no commitment. I told the rep that it stated this on
    their own website and he STILL would not let me get naked DSL without a 12
    month commit. I finally had to get a supervisor on the line, who was able to
    successfully move me over without any commitment.

    I really think AT&T doesn’t want people to get this and tries to hide it and
    discourage people as much as possible. The sales rep before I got a
    supervisor basically threw everything at me trying to make me keep my
    residential line before I told him that I don’t even have a phone connected
    and that all I was using it for was my DISH Network box connection and that
    it was cheaper for me to pay the 5.99 fee for no phone to that, then the $15
    a month to AT&T for their phone line.

  39. HenryPython says:

    ^^^ I was fortunate. When I had them switch me from DSL+phone to dry loop, I also had them setup my auto bill-pay over the phone.

    I still have problems when trying to view my account information, so far nothing shows up online and I have to log in under the U-verse login to see anything at all.

    *** Oh also beware, if you do switch from DSL+Phone to dry loop, they will have to create a new login/pass that you have to enter into your modem to work. They forgot to tell me about this, so after about 10 days into the switch my DSL dropped and I had to spend 1 hour with CS to get that new login/pass to enter into my DSL modem.

  40. Iskandr says:

    I had no problem getting stand alone DSL at my new apartment earlier this summer. Their website said my building didn’t qualify but my apartment manager said to call and ask them to qualify my place. After fifteen minutes on the phone, most of it on hold, I had an account set up and a modem on the way. They forgot to tell me that since I didn’t have phone service a rep had to come to come setup the line before it was activated, but I wasn’t charged for it and my service got turned on several hours before I was expecting it too.

    In fact I’m quite satisfied with the service in my area. It is definitely faster than the alternative… Cox Communication.

  41. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    $45.99 for 6.0 Mbps DSL? I’m sure that’s before tax and “fees”. I’m paying $54 and change total for the same service through AT&T with a landline.