Naked DSL or à la carte broadband

For less than $150,000 and three days of work, Qwest got the permission to sell à la carte broadband, which we blog types like to call naked DSL. In other words, it is selling high-speed broadband connections, without customers having to sign-up for its PSTN voice service. So if they can do it, why can’t SBC, Verizon, and BellSouth? Good question – and The New York Times finally posed this question to various phone companies and cable operators and only got mealy mouthed answers.

“It’s just very complex. It’s changing the guts of the systems and processes we’ve built for five years,” said Michael D. Poling, Verizon’s vice president for broadband operations and processes.

Not true said, Richard Notebaert, CEO of Bell operator, Qwest.

“We’ve had no technical problems; we’ve had no billing problem. If the consumer wants it, why are you stiffing them?”

Ouch, for Notebaert is one of the Bell-heads. In other words, the excuses don’t really work. And what are the Bells really worried about? Qwest in a year has only 25,000 naked DSL customers. Still, this is inviting the wrath of FCC for no reason. Not to pick on Bells alone, the cable operators are equally terrible. I don’t want the mindless drivel that passes itself off as TV these days and just want broadband – so why don’t just sell Internet access to me. I would gladly pay an extra $5 bucks for the privilege. Consumer groups want FCC to mandate and force à la carte broadband policies.

(By the way what really pisses me off is that most of the San Francisco apartment buildings wire-up the door buzzers with a land line – forcing me to get a local phone connection for no reason. This should come out of rent, because they are cheap enough to not put internal systems like they have in NY.)