Success Stories: Verizon's DSL Is No Longer "Full"

Verizon contacted us looking to solve the mystery of the “full” DSL and now reader Laurel has an update:

I emailed the person who contacted you. He forwarded me to Kimberly W., a senior CSR at Verizon. She gave me her direct-dial number – essentially she became a CSR specifically assigned to me to fix the problem. After I explained the issue to her, she said she would talk to Engineering and confirm whether anything could be done. Later that day, she called to let me know that, in fact, Engineering had found a solution and we would be able to get DSL at our new home. (I didn’t press for details about how they found space for us. I’m guessing they reserve a few connections for emergencies or situations like this one.)

Naturally, this being Verizon, the switch was not error-free. Verizon did manage to switch over our phone service but not DSL. When I called Kimberly, she looked up the order and discovered that whoever put the order in forgot to also order DSL transferred. (Sigh.) She asked me to call the tier 1 order people to get them to make the change, then call her back. Tier 1 told me that it would not be able to switch DSL for another week – when I called Kimberly and told her about this, she escalated the order so that it only took two days to switch.

Following this, we got spontaneous calls from engineering CSR people who said that they’d tested our line and found we weren’t getting the speed we were supposed to. They dispatched technicians to upgrade some “older equipment” they said was causing the problem. They also determined that our DSL modem is out of date, and overnighted us a new modem to arrive tomorrow.

So, not without a few bumps along the way, but we went from ‘sorry, no DSL for you’ to ‘not only will you get DSL but it will be better than what you had before’. Thanks, Consumerist!

Well, we’re still not sure we fully understand why the DSL was full, but we’re glad that it worked out! Verizon really snatched you from the jaws of Comcast at the last minute, didn’t they?

(Photo: Maulleigh )


Edit Your Comment

  1. humphrmi says:

    Interesting ending; DSLAMs do fill up. I can see them setting aside some spare capacity “just in case” but what happens when Consumerist runs another story based on an OP submission later, and they’re really really, actually all out of capacity?

  2. trixrabbit says:

    i used to work for a provider of dsl (alltel, now windstream). it’s customary to leave a few ports on a dslam rack available (troubleshooting/re-route purposes). sounds like basic internal miscommunication. the tier1 rep or salesperson should have called someone in engineering the first time.

  3. warf0x0r says:

    In my dreams Verizon comes and saves me from the Comcast monster with FiOS *sigh*

  4. GenXCub says:

    If they’re sending you a new DSL modem, how much will they be charging you for it? (or do you rent?) I mean, unless the modem is over 5 years old… and even then it should work okay.

  5. chiieddy says:

    @GenXCub: Verizon generally gives their DSL modems at no extra charge, or they did when I had them. You do, though, have to agree to a 1 year contract.

  6. pat_trick says:

    @humphrmi: In that case, they’d likely have to install a new DSLAM at the location to provide further service. It’s not too difficult to increase capacity, though there’d likely be resistance to it.

  7. HPCommando says:

    DSLAMs use up the older ISDN lines, which are also used for land-line remote radio/TV broadcasts (telethons, sales events, etc.) as well as multi-channels for call-in phone banks (telethons, especially). Same for the old burglar alarm pairs, which is what most ISDN came from, and are now mostly old rotting POTS (dry pairs). Likewise, the old telegraph/timecode lines used (and still present) in older Federal buildings and postal offices/stations.

    Typically, there were at least one ISDN and one dry pair on every neighborhood trunk out of the Central Office for “emergency” use. Once the “emergency” passed, the lines were ‘released’ back to reserve status.

    The older the neighborhood, the more likely this was the situation; if they had to replace equipment at the CO, it’s even more likely.

  8. mythago says:

    The DSL modem was sent at no charge. However, it now appears that what they sent us was some kind of combination modem/router that doesn’t want to talk to our existing Netgear router. I still have the old modem, so no big deal if it doesn’t connect.

    And yes, way to get snatched away from the jaws of Comcast. I was NOT looking forward to dealing with those bastards again.

  9. Eoghann says:


    The DSL modem was sent at no charge. However, it now appears that what they sent us was some kind of combination modem/router that doesn’t want to talk to our existing Netgear router. I still have the old modem, so no big deal if it doesn’t connect.

    Call Verizon tech support. They can quickly walk you through putting your DSL modem in “Bridge Mode.”

  10. nXt says:

    @mythago: Yeah those combination dsl modem/router sucks. You can configure it to act as a bridge so you can use your Netgear router. Or you can dump your Netgear router and just use the Verizon one.

  11. linbey says:


    They just disconnected someone else to get her hooked up

  12. My DSL was way over 100% capacity. Never found out how much over, but I would go from 3mps service down to 200kps service…. the minute the neighborhood kids got on their computers after school. Screamed enough and finally the field techs could “duplicate” the problem…. by working a full business day and being in the DSLAM building after school hours when the users increased.

  13. FLConsumer says:

    @mythago: Is it one of those silver ActionTec modems/routers? If so, good luck. Bridge mode’s borked on those. It’ll go through the motions but won’t actually do it. I went through 2 cell phone batteries over 2 days (6+ hrs) on the phone with Verizon’s terrible technical support. They sent another Actiontec modem which also did the exact same thing. They were supposed to replace it with a Westell and sent yet another ActionTec…which also had the same problem. Eventually Verizon sent the Westell and life was good.

  14. InThrees says:

    It’s pretty simple Meg – get a cable or dsl modem and network a few computers to it. Won’t be too bad.

    Now network an entire apartment complex to it and see the difference in your connection.

    If Verizon is really telling people “Sorry, we’re full” then good for them – it means they don’t want to oversell the service too much. That’s not to say they’re not already overselling it, but just having a limit is heads and shoulders over the majority of the providers.

  15. backbroken says:

    I just escaped from Verizon DSL hell 2 weeks ago. 50% uptime for weeks, help desk ‘technicians’ who couldn’t communicate anything meaningful in English, and thrice missed service appointments. Thought about submitting my story (it’s a good one) but realized that I didn’t like my DSL service that much to care. So now I’m living the Comcast life.

    Sometimes it’s better to take the shot in the arse than in the arm.

  16. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m wondering if they just needed time to fix some twisted pair copper-I heard you can’t have any taps or existing trouble on the line for data-the copper must be in perfect shape.

    That might explain full besides lack of available equipment space.Lack of copper in good shape for data.

  17. bwcbwc says:

    If bridging doesn’t work, you should be able to put your routers in series if the netgear router has ethernet WAN output. I have a setup like this going between my old Siemens router and the wireless router we installed last xmas. It requires a bit more manual configuration than a normal router setup, so it might not be worth the trouble for you.

    You’ll have to edit the default subnet on one of the routers so the address spaces don’t overlap. Most routers default to an address space of with a mask of, but you can edit the first zero (in the third position of the IP address) to anything between 0 and 254. If you plug the WAN output of the netgear router into a LAN port on the new router/modem, then set the new router with a subnet of (say) and the same mask, you’re good to go. The computers on the netgear router will be able to reach the computers on the Combo dsl/router by http or ftp, but won’t be able to do windows networking unless you completely open up the required ports on the WAN side of the netgear.

  18. I’d rather deal with any crap Verizon tries before running to the open jaws of Concrap.

  19. stager says:

    @GenXCub: modems come with service after that your modems have a one year warranty which any Verizon technical support agent can replace your modem after that year you will have to talk to billing to order a new one at you expense, but if you ask the agent nicely they might be able to get you a new modem after the 1 year by contacting there tier 2 support only they can replace modems that are outa warranty.

  20. stager says:

    This is typical at Verizon, sometimes there is just not enough room for all the customers at the CO.

  21. FLConsumer says:

    @bwcbwc: The problem with such a setup is that the router provided by Verizon absolutely blows. Start doing anything packet-intensive and watch them get overloaded. Remote Desktop, VoIP, P2P, some games all will deep-six Verizon’s “free” routers.

  22. HOP says:

    my verizon dsl has been fine for the last 3 years or so…..and every time i had to call the csr because of my foul ups,my problem(s) were corrected with no hassle….

  23. planet2334 says:

    Interesting, we recently had Verizon wire our apartment complex for DSL, and they even sent reps over to set up sign up tables at our pool area and to BBQ. :) ? It was the strangest thing I ever saw over there. I wonder if they could have really delivered the service to the people who signed up. Maybe we should just throw them in the pool :)

  24. boss_lady says:

    @GenXCub: Modems used to have a six-month warranty. It’s now ninety days. Ridiculous, but true.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Seems to be say too many accepting the Verizon “DSL is full” arguement. It’s Verizon’s job to monitor and manage the network. That includes predicting overloads and engineering the changes to prevent any degradation of service.

    But Verizon wants to pour all their $$ into FIOS so, apparently, they are restricting funds for copper network capacity management. Beyond that, they probably don’t want to sell DSL, and certainly not dry-loop DSL, if they are close to FIOS in the area, hoping to sell FIOS for any internet service. And we know they like to tear out the copper wires when they install FIOS so the customer has no recourse if he finds FIOS too expensive or not necessary.