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Broadband for Asterisk: Now Just $10 a Month… NOT!

If you’re lucky enough to be living in one of the old BellSouth territories of the new AT&T, then you won’t want to miss AT&T’s new DSL offer. It’s the perfect backup for your Asterisk® system. Beginning today, customers ordering new phone service can sign up for 768K DSL service for just $10 a month (prepaid for the first year). The deal lasts for two and a half years, but you must sign up online at fastaccess.com. Not surprisingly, the site has been down most of the morning.

The Fine Print. Well, this was a special offer to fulfill a promise reportedly made in exchange for approval of the AT&T merger with BellSouth and Cingular. The company obviously isn’t too thrilled with the deal as we found out when we tried to sign up at the link above. Once you get to their web site using Internet Explorer only, you’ll notice a little Chat with Live Person icon. So I clicked on that and asked where to find the $10 DSL special for new customers. This may come as a shock to you, but I was disconnected by my PenPal four times in a row. Persistence, however, paid off and my helper finally settled into Royal Runaround mode where she was equally adept.

Suffice it to say, whenever there’s a Live Chat application that won’t let you cut-and-paste the conversation, you should know at the outset that things can only go downhill. And downhill it went… quickly. We’re only sorry that we didn’t capture screen shots of all of the dialogue, but you get the gist of it from the snippet above which transpired at about the 10-minute mark in our little chat. Law school wasn’t nearly enough training to deal with Runaround Sue Jessica.

First, we were told that the special was only available to existing customers. That’s just the opposite of what all the trade rags are saying. Next we were told that we’d have to sign up for dial-up Internet service first ($19.95 a month!) in order to get the "special modem" required for this DSL service. Later, we were told that 768K DSL service was only available in areas where fiber-optic cable (rather than copper) had been run to the neighborhood curb. That wipes out about 99% of the country.

So-called IFITL service is typically a prerequisite for getting AT&T’s 6 megabit DSL service. You can certainly understand why fiber might be necessary to support top performance DSL. But why would you need a fiber optic cable to support rot-gut DSL when the next two higher speeds of DSL service (at additional cost, of course) work perfectly well with copper? Ever heard of a bandwidth shaping router? Well, you can bet that the AT&T folks have because they use traffic shaping routers routinely to restrict bandwidth on their other tiers of DSL service. So why not with 768K service? Uh, because then they’d have to sell it for $10 a month. Why didn’t we think of that?

Bottom Line: AT&T isn’t that thrilled about signing up new customers that only want $10 DSL service. We, of course, will do the only right thing and forward all of this information to our Congressmen and the FCC. In the meantime, if you’ve got a little spare time, go online and chat with Jessica. You probably will get Jessica since everyone we chatted with at BellSouth over a period of almost twelve hours just happened to be named Jessica. Then post your results here so we can enjoy a good chuckle. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for your $10 DSL connection to arrive. Here’s the Monday, June 16 version from our workaholic Jessica.


  1. Actually $19.95 was the old special. So you’re having the same problem we were. Take another look at the article. It’s been amended considerably.

  2. When you say that its the perfect backup for Asterisk, do you mean that you normally use POTS service for your phones but now you will use the fast DSL for $10?

    [WM: Good point. But mine was that now it would be possible to have two (low-cost) broadband services. At $10, this one would make an ideal backup for a SIP-based broadband phone system.]

  3. Just a quick fyi…

    As soon as this came I out, I hit their website and signed up…the whole process was unbelievably quick, easy and accurate (the very opposite of cable–which I also have).

    A series of automated voicemails and emails kept me informed of fulfillment, shipping and delivery. It took just 5 days from start to finish to receive my "self-install" kit.

    And what a nice, tight little package. It had every cable I could need!

    In about an hour, I was up an running.

    Now I have 2 network WAN links, each connected to separate wireless networks in my home. I can quickly and easily switch between the two from my wireless laptops anywhere on my property.

    So for $10 a month, I have redundant WAN connectivity AT HOME!

    Hey at&t may be the evil empire, but I gotta tell you…it is clear that the empire is well organized and efficient. Something that has never been true of cable internet.

    Sorry, but I am pretty excited so far.

  4. Ward, I just signed up for this service today (7/25/2007).

    Gee, what are the odds of me getting the same agent (Jessica) that you talked to? Weird.

    "She" had to direct me to a "special" website that had the option. Then she tried to talk me out of it three different ways:
    1.) There is a 1 year contract.
    Yes please, can I sign up for five?

    2.) This does not come with a free modem.
    Already have one…next?

    3.)If you sign up for "ultra" service or better you get a free modem and $75 cash back.
    See above about modem. Let’s see "ultra" (32.95*12 = 395.40 – $75 = 325.40) $10 plan (10.00*12 = $120.00), uh take your $75 cash back and (fill in blank)!

    Even if I didn’t already have a modem, they are only charging $75 for a new one, I still come out on top.

    If anyone else can take advantage of this, do it is worth it to have a "back up" internet connection.

  5. $10 DSL has definitely arrived, albeit in a very limited quantity, and hidden on one of ATT’s pages in a corner… how convenient. Here’s the newest link although it tells me it’s only available in very limited areas.
    $10 ATT DSL:
    or try going here:
    and then clicking the link in "DSL at even a Lower Price!" box in the lower right-hand corner.
    If you don’t live in the right areas it will give you this response:
    "AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet is only available to AT&T customers in these states: AR, CA, CT, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, NV, OH, OK, TX, & WI."
    Good luck getting this great deal out of the beast called AT&T!

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