BellSouth is asking the FCC to kill what is apparently one of the best kept secrets in the industry. That secret is the fact that in four states (and Louisiana is one of them!), BellSouth must offer what is called “naked DSL” that is, DSL without having to buy local phone service from the company.
How well kept is this secret? According to a BellSouth spokesperson quoted in the story, a total of 8,000 customers have signed up for this version of the service since 2002! As a former BellSouth DSL customer, I don’t recall ever hearing about the availability of this service. It was, as far as I can recall, never mentioned as an available option during the time in which I did business with them.
Typically, BellSouth positions this anti-consumer move as being in the best interests of consumers:
Among other things, BellSouth and its supporters have warned of the possibility of slightly different naked DSL rules in all 50 states, which would slow broadband growth in the United States and undermine BellSouth’s incentive to invest in the service and the underlying network. BellSouth also points out in FCC filings that some states have opposed naked DSL rules.
Aside from better rates for consumers, what is really driving BellSouth’s effort to kill naked DSL? Competition and innovation, according to a spokesman for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions.
“Standalone broadband, one could argue, may be a necessary prerequisite for independent, non-facilities-based VoIP providers to provide any competitive pressure on landline local service prices,” argues James Ramsay of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
Stifling competition, working to prevent the deployment of new technologies, and hiding information that could be advantageous to consumers.
BellSouth is anti-consumer, anti-business, anti-anyone-but-themselves. And they work hard to prove it every day!