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Broadband Access Without the Pork? 412

An anonymous reader writes "Like many consumers nowadays, I find more of my time spent on the internet and various wireless devices (e.g. mobile phone). This has gotten to the point where I basically do not use a landline or cable television anymore, and they are essentially pork on my broadband bill, which further subjects the consumer to all sorts of clandestine fees that aren't disclosed until the first bill arrives and add a non-trivial sum (in my case, nearly 100%) to the monthly rate. However, it seems that all broadband access providers have this stipulation, that an internet customer must first have a basic phone or cable TV service in order to sign on for the internet service. Are there any ISPs that can get around this and still deliver broadband internet service at a competitive rate?"
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Broadband Access Without the Pork?

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  • by GMonkeyLouie ( 1372035 ) <gmonkeylouie AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:42PM (#26080629)

    My neighbors' wi-fi access point provides internet access for me without me having to pay for TV or landline access, like you said. I don't even have to pay for the internet, which I actually use!

    I recommend everyone switch to this kind of ISP.

    • by CaptainPatent ( 1087643 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:50PM (#26080819) Journal
      I finally convinced everyone in my apartment to switch...

      We're getting a strange "limited or no connectivity" problem now.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Tuidjy ( 321055 )

        You may be onto something. I have never had cable, and I have broadband with Time Warner (used to be something else, but they got bought out). The bill is about thirty bucks and I do not pay for cable, but almost every day around 00:30-01:30, I lose connection for sometimes an hour at a time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fastball ( 91927 )

          I read "...but almost every day around 00:30-01:30, I lose my connection for sometimes an hour at a time.", and I thought to myself you must have Time Warner cable. Then I read your comment again. Sure enough.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Dammit! So that's why my Internet access has been so slow lately! Does anyone know how to configure WPA2 personal?

    • Re:Yeah, there are (Score:5, Informative)

      by Snowblindeye ( 1085701 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:59PM (#26081017)
      Comcast certainly offers Internet access without TV, I have several friends using it that way.

      AT&T offers the same for DSL, though they don't really advertise it: [] []

      As always, Google is your friend.

    • Interestingly, if your neighbors had their broadband through Speakeasy you could be doing this on the up and up through their Netshare program [], because it some cases this probably is a practical solution.

      Unfortunately, innovative offerings come through competition, and with high speed broadband moving increasingly toward cable and phone companies' offerings (i.e., cable and fiber) you'll be dealing with local monopolies who have no real incentive to offer you those sorts of options.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mi ( 197448 )

      This has gotten to the point where I basically do not use a landline or cable television anymore

      Paying for fresh water and sanitation seems quite redundant too. Eew, what unclean, last-millennium atavisms!

    • You're Welcome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheNinjaroach ( 878876 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:22PM (#26081463)
      As a paying broadband subscriber who intentionally leaves my AP unsecured, I say you're welcome. I'm too worried about getting a good wireless signal to borrow my neighbors connection, but as long as they aren't greedy with bandwidth I don't mind sharing my own. Sure there are risks involved and I do have to boot a MAC address every now and then for abuse, but I genuinely don't mind sharing my connection with as many neighbors as I can reach.

      The more people I can help without noticing a big hit in performance, the better. So internet service is free, in my neighborhood anyways.

      Yes, you can borrow a cup of sugar, too.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @06:24PM (#26082533) Homepage

        Yuo do know that you are Evil and causing us to lose the war on terror AND caused the economic collapse? That's what the Cable and Phone companies tell me.

        Anyone who shares internet is E V I L

        That said, Thanks! I also share it, but I have a captive portal and block all ports except 80. plus, if you dont come and tell me you're a neighbor and give me your mac address, you have to re-agree every hour. Call the phone number on the portal page, come to my door so I can say "hey!" and I'll add your mac to my blessed list.

        P.S. what's really fun. if your AP is very busy, run a linux app to sniff the traffic and display all images being loaded. It's a hoot.

  • Speakeasy (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:43PM (#26080655)

    Speakeasy provides me with naked DSL.

  • (Sigh) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McNally ( 105243 ) <mmcnally@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:44PM (#26080661) Homepage

    I've long maintained that learning how to ask questions properly is a big part of getting a useful response.

    Apropos of which, positing a question that is highly location-specific in a global forum and then not specifying one's location is an excellent way to get no useful responses whatsoever.

  • some yes some no (Score:2, Informative)

    by zeldor ( 180716 )

    some broadband places may give you a cheaper rate with such pork but not
    all of them require it. Also some dsl providers do offer dry pair (or naked)
    dsl, but only if you ask. Some digging may be required on your part.

  • Try Dry loop DSL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:45PM (#26080695)
    I got dry-loop DSL through AT&T. It was a pain to convince them why, but after the third time I tried what one of the articles on the consumerist recommended - going directly to retention dept - and that got everything rolling. The price is slighly more without phone for same DSL service, but overall without phone line my total bill is less than what it would have been with phone.
    • AT&T has dry-loop DSL? I'm paing +$10ish for a phone line ($5 through AT&T, $5ish for government 'fees' ... taxes ...), and I was not aware that they would do it without the phone line. I know Verizon did, but didn't know AT&T did.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I got dry-loop DSL through AT&T.

      I don't think that means what you think it means. It sounds like you got "naked" DSL. If you were able to get a dry pair out of an RBOC in the last 5 years I'd be seriously surprised. I dry pair is simply a bare copper pair, with no repeaters, from one location to another, usually cross-connected through your local switching station. It's used typically by the alarm monitoring industry (well, not so much anymore, but it used to be) and people trying to use DSL equipment to make a point to point connecti

  • Move (Score:3, Informative)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:45PM (#26080701) Journal

    In Montreal, QC, canada you can avoid paying by finding an apartment / house near an access point [].

  • ISPs (Score:2, Informative)

    by amurenbeeld ( 993817 )
    Bell Sympatico, Rogers, Cogeco, and Telus all offer internet only solutions.
  • by prestonmichaelh ( 773400 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:46PM (#26080707)
    I have Verizon Fios 10Mbps up / 2 Mbps down with no other services from them. They also do DSL without phone lines and the only thing you miss out on cost wise is that you start paying the "normal" price right away instead of a 6 month promo price that is then raised to the "normal" price. Of course, if you don't live in Verizon territory, this is completely meaningless.
    • Road Runner (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phreakiture ( 547094 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:21PM (#26081439) Homepage

      If your local Cable provider is Time-Warner, you can order Road Runner by itself. I can state this authoritatively, because Road Runner is my current ISP. I pay $45/month (though this is going up to $50 next month) and no additional taxes or fees. I am not paying for cable TV because I am not buying cable TV. This has been my arrangement since 2001.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Curien ( 267780 )

        I can confirm this. I technically go through Earthlink, but they just re-sell RoadRunner service here, and I pay the same rate ($42/mo + tax) as normal RR customers in my area. I've heard that some people with this service end up getting some cable channels for free, but I've never bothered checking.

    • by ConstantiusChlorus ( 1314991 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @06:39PM (#26082805)

      I have Verizon Fios 10Mbps up / 2 Mbps down

      The folks on p2p must really love you...

  • by Twanfox ( 185252 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:46PM (#26080711)

    In my area and within the past two years, AT&T has decided to begin offering DSL without local phone service. Their highest speed plan is about $10 more than if you get it with local phone service, but even still it is only $45. Two years ago when I looked at Comcast in my area, it would've been $54 at least for me to have internet service alone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      In my area, AT&T offers to punch you in the face (that is, there aren't enough people around for them to bother upgrading infrastructure to support DSL, so dial-up and satellite are the options; it's hard to complain too loudly, because it is clear that it isn't worth it to them, but that is what those stupid gub'mint fees are for...).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Eunuchswear ( 210685 )

        it's hard to complain too loudly, because it is clear that it isn't worth it to them, but that is what those stupid gub'mint fees are for...

        Is this why Americans are always whining that government is usless? Because they just lay there while they're being raped thinking of liberteria?

        I'ts hard to complain about getting poor service from a monopoly supplier 'cos I've already paid for it,

        Grow some balls.

    • AT&T and Verizon are legally required to sell you naked DSL.

      Most smaller companies will also offer it (if there are any left!). Speakeasy's expensive, but is supposedly one of the best ISPs around.

  • by rlp ( 11898 )

    Most telcos will be happy to sell you a T1 line without having to purchase cable TV or phone service.

  • The cable company I work for will sell you a internet only account. They do however charge you a $10.00 fee on top of your internet bill.

  • dry loop (Score:5, Informative)

    by rodrigo1979 ( 255519 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:49PM (#26080781)

    If your area is served by AT&T, ask for a dry-loop DSL line.
    it's the same thing, just no dial-tone on the line.
    I just got the Elite (up to 6Mbps down/ 768Kbps up) for 35.00 a month.

  • Teksavvy in Canada (Score:4, Informative)

    by debrain ( 29228 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:53PM (#26080871) Journal

    ... offers Dry-Loop DSL for $30 per month, plus the cost of the copper line at around $9.00 a month.

  • Living in Norway all the ISPs provide internet without needing anything else (cable/phone). Personally I have a 12mb line.
  • by jag7720 ( 685739 )
    I use Earth Link cable which is just resold Time warner and that is all... no cable TV no land line $41.95/mo
    • This is the option I came in to mention. It's a pretty sweet deal, although I often forget that Earthlink is the provider, as I don't use the included email addresses and the billing is through TW, so I practically never see "Earthlink" in relation to my connectivity.
  • I tether using my Verizon Blackberry as a modem. It's only 15 bucks on top of the normal Blackberry plan and allows me to use my laptop anywhere. The EVDO speeds are fast enough to, say, stream YouTube videos without buffering, but downloading large files can be a pain as you'll rarely get a download speed above 75k or so. Still, it's pretty cheap addition if you already have a PDA/Blackberry plan and the mobility is the best thing about it.

  • Impossible to answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Free the Cowards ( 1280296 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @04:54PM (#26080931)

    I know that both Verizon and Comcast offer no-strings-attached DSL/cable (at least in my area), although Comcast has a surcharge for TV-less internet that slightly exceeds the cost of their $15/month basic cable package, making it slightly absurd.

    However this is all a bit pointless as we have no idea where you are and therefore have no idea what ISPs you can subscribe to. Seriously, wtf? There are no global ISPs. If you're being typically US-centric (nothing really wrong with that here) there still are no national US ISPs. So the question is stupid.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Comcast has a surcharge for TV-less internet that slightly exceeds the cost of their $15/month basic cable package, making it slightly absurd.

      Where do you live that has basic analog cable television for $15 per month? Or by "basic" do you mean "lifeline" service that has the local channels and little else?

  • In Orlando, Florida I have Brighthouse high speed - no other services. In Phoenix, Arizona I did the same with Cox - though eventually I picked up their phone service too since it was a good deal, but initially I only used them for internet.

  • Not sure if you are in their service area, but Speakeasy offers "One-Link" which is DSL that does not require a landline with a dialtone, only the physical wires.

    I've been using it for years and am down to just cellphone + dsl for my telecom bills.

    • i second that. they offer the best DSL i have ever used with minimal BS. my experience with speakeasy in the past (i moved out of their coverage area) has been nothing short of stellar.

    They charge $15 a month for internet. The phone is required since DSL uses the lines, however by downgrading to "pay per call" service I reduced my bill to about $6 a month for the phone. That's $21 total.


    As far as I know they provide internet without the requirement for TV. The internet-only price is $60/month which is still high in my opinion but the speed is good (50 megabit/s). ----- If they did require TV services, I would downgrade to the $10 a month "limited" service which provi

  • Verizon FIOS (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aagmrb7289 ( 652113 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:00PM (#26081035) Journal
    I don't have a land line connected to my Verizon FIOS account.
  • Here in Palo, Iowa, you can get naked 768k SDSL from the Palo Telephone Coop for $150 a month with a 2 year contract. I opted to go for the plan with a [no caller id, no call waiting, no voicemail] phone line for $105. :\
  • Many companies offer an internet-only option. However it's rather expensive by itself. Thus they would like you to bundle it with other services. You pay less than if you were to get the services separately. If getting internet only is really important to you, then ask around for that option. Some companies don't always list it as an option.
  • EVDO from Sprint (Score:3, Informative)

    by kherr ( 602366 ) <kevin@pu p p e t> on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:01PM (#26081071) Homepage

    I recently moved into a rural area where I had no options for cable or DSL from my telco, ended up getting EVDO (mobile broadband) from Sprint. Not as fast as cable, but certainly fast enough to be usable. I got the service directly without tying it to a voice plan, so all I pay for is the EVDO service. I then got myself a Cradlepoint router [] that let me plug the EVDO modem right into it, becoming as easy to use as a cable modem.

    Works really well, speeds similar to DSL. There is a 5GB "cap" but whenever I ask Sprint about it they don't give me the same answer—sometimes I'm told I'll be asked to pay more, other times they say it slides, and I've also been told they have higher-tiered plans but I can't get into one until I exceed the cap regularly. Not sure they know themselves what they're doing. But the service is excellent, and I haven't had any issues with my data usage.

  • I do. (Score:4, Informative)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:02PM (#26081073) Homepage

    I have broadband internet from Earthlink through Time Warner Cable in New York City. No cable TV or phone. I'm happy with it, moderately cheap, run web/email servers, IP technically dynamic but it hasn't changed in a year, etc.

    However, don't get Earthlink digital phone. That sucks fucking shit, horrible service, no one can fix anything. They even *lost* our phone number! (Lot of stories about that online if you search.)

  • the only one of the telcos, in fact, that is pleased to do so. better to get SOME money than NO money.

  • Call Earthlink (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheNinjaroach ( 878876 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:11PM (#26081237)
    I live in a Time Warner area where they charge an extra $20/mo for *not* subscribing to cable TV. Enter Earthlink. I called them to get the same rate but it doesn't include the $20 monthly surcharge. Here's the kicker, Time Warner came out to connect my service that they provide, install the modem and hand me my first bill. It's 100% Time Warner, they mail me a bill every month for about $45, but because I signed up through Earthlink I don't pay any additional "no cable TV" fees. When I need support, I call Time Warner and get the same crappy (but first party) support that everyone else does. To be honest, I'm not sure what Earthlink does besides provide EMail accounts and hijack my invalid DNS requests.

    I believe Earthlink has similar agreements with other coax and DSL providers, you should at least give them a call.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dynedain ( 141758 )

      Earthlink also blocks SMTP that isn't going to their servers making it a pain to use your non-earthlink email address.

      • Although I haven't personally tested SMTP (who uses that anymore?) I have done a lot of weird things on a lot of weird ports with Earthlink and have never noticed a single one of them being blocked or interfered with in any way.
  • by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:11PM (#26081245)
    Here's AT&T's packages [].
    I do enjoy not having to pay a list of regulatory and gov't fees, also.
  • The only high speed option with competition. I use a local WISP ( and I don't pay for anything I don't use. It's not as fast as some cable providers, but it's 5/2 so it's not bad. About $50/mo. Most areas seem to be served by a WISP these days, check into it a little and you might be able to find something.

    They also provide me with a static IP so I can run server processes. It's a "don't break things" kind of arrangement. If I don't cause problems, they leave me alone to do my thing.

  • In the RDU area in North Carolina, I subscribe to earthlink which uses Time-Warner's cable lines. I do not subscribe to cable (analog-to-digital TV converter) or any landline phone service (cell phones only). I didn't think that was all that unusual anymore.
  • cox (Score:2, Insightful)

    I used to have COX cable internet, no TV or phone required.
  • Move? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eunuchswear ( 210685 )

    100 mb/s internet = 21,90 EUR/month
    100 mb/s internet + unlimited telephone (France + EU + US + Canada + Israel) = 19,90 EUR a month

    Negative pork? []

  • I have FiOS for Internet only. No phone or TV service on it. Supposedly, if you bug them enough they'll give you dry-loop DSL, aka naked DSL, which is DSL without the phone service.

  • They say you'll save money bundling mobile, broadband, and phone lines on one bill. Not only has the total sum of the bills gone up, the bills become impossible to debug because support for those three areas are all separate specialists who don't have the authority to make changes on the side that isn't theirs.

    I'm not usually a violent man but dealing with these companies causes visions of guillotines and wood-chippers to dance through my head.

  • If DSL is a viable option then the easiest way to reduce the pork is to get a metered landline without any extra features or long distance service. Even better is to get unbundled DSL but that is rarely available.

  • Time Warner (Score:4, Informative)

    by khellendros1984 ( 792761 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:27PM (#26081531) Journal
    I use Time Warner cable internet (I guess they bought Roadrunner or something). 10Mb down, 1Mb up, $45/month. I don't pay for cable or phone through them or anyone else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by XanC ( 644172 )

      Remember the Roadrunner? That impish character always foiling Wile E. Coyote in those classic cartoons produced by a company called Warner Brothers?

      "Roadrunner" is the marketing name of Time Warner's cable modem service.

  • Last I checked it was simply $10 more to have 8Mb/s Internet w/out also having CableTV service.

    With the advent of,, NBC ABC CBS and FOX video on demain, Amazon (free) videos, et al I find myself wondering if I really want to keep Cable TV.

    Then I sit back and hit Power and have Instant cable TV w/out having a hot laptop on me and streaming issues. So I think I'll keep it just a bit longer.

  • When I had comcast in AZ, I had internet-only service for a couple of years, $42/mo. Apparently, however, it was difficult to provide this without also providing unscrambled channel TV service. So they decided on the following scheme:
    • Internet alone: $62
    • Internet with Basic Cable TV (local only): $59

    Yes, forgoing the TV would cost you 3 dollars. After an unproductive 10 minutes on the phone with Comcast, who kept insisting that this was a new Bundling deal that would save me money, I made the follow

  • I'm pretty happy with my Comcast Business Class Cable access. It's $59.95/month for decent speed, a TOS that allows me to run servers, and no cable TV service.

  • Pork means government spending, particulary of a frivolous or unnecesary nature, targeted to gain favour with specific constituents.

    It does not mean something I don't want to pay, however unreasonable it may be or how annoyingly bundled with something I want.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

  • My ISP (Hot, with Bezeq for infrastructure) provides my with a cable modem without a phone or a television. Actually, I just bought a phone and signed up with their VOIP plan, but it is available without. The OP does not mention what country he is in, should we assume that he is in AOLand? (for those of use who remember when AOL users did not know that they need to append onto the end of their email addresses)

  • I currently use Time-Warner cable, before that I had COX and before that I had Verison. None of these providers required me to have a land-line/cable/anything else.
  • I lived for a few years near Charleston SC. I had Knology cable/internet service there. They had no problem disconnecting everything except internet service for $35/mo unlimited usage in 2004. I have no idea if their plans have changed recently.
  • In many cases, ISPs do not *want* to sell you only Internet access. You have to know how to play the system. In Boston (02108) you could get a cable internet feed from Comcast two ways:
    • Cable internet only: $57.95 per month (plus taxes and fees)
    • Cable internet for $29.99 plus basic cable for $10.43 per month = $40.42 total (plus taxes and fees)

    You don't need to actually watch any of the 12 fuzzy distorted channels you get with the basic cable package to qualify. (Note that in many/most areas, the gover

  • Sprint Xohm WiMax (Score:3, Interesting)

    by penguinboy ( 35085 ) on Thursday December 11, 2008 @05:40PM (#26081815)
    Sprint Xohm WiMax. Its available in limited areas only for now (Baltimore & Chicago) but it works great. I'm getting 6Mbps download speeds for just $25/mo (6 month promotional period; $35/mo after) with no setup fee, no contract, and no termination fee. Clearwire is rolling out similar/same technology in additional regions.

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