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Pacific Bell - SBC page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

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Review by elvey See Profile

  • Location: San Francisco,San Francisco,CA
  • Cost: $80 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 41 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "The service of this Organized Crime Syndicate works when their SMTP server isn't blacklisted. Fast install."
Bad "AT&T supports spammers, lies."
Overall "Use a CLEC like sonic or dslextreme or speakeasy instead."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:

My connection has been VERY flaky lately, and AT&T/SBC support was poor. The support folks I spoke with when I called can't do anything but follow a fixed script; giving them information about the symptoms I was seeing was useless; they refused to pay any attention. The direct support forum folks here provided the info I needed, but it took a couple months and couple dozen messages before they sent me the info I needed. (connection logs)


Before that, I switched from legacy DSL to the SBC/Yahoo Package, and was getting overcharged. They refused to fix it until my 4th appeal (2nd to the PUC, the California Public Utilities Commission - they regulate AT&T). During the appeal process, they lied, to the PUC, in writing, about what they had charged me - i.e. bald-faced lies about what was on the bills they sent me.

News server logs me off sometimes (e.g. when reading net-abuse groups).

Online order process contradictory about whether existing customers can order online.

Their SMTP servers are periodically blacklisted because their abuse department (see »[General] Hey SBC Techs, what's with abuse@pacbell.net? ) seems to have ~0 employees. Their support folk not only won't do anything about it, but even refuse to understand what it is to be blacklisted.

Yahoo and SBC support ping-ponged me back and forth about who was responsible when I tried to get them to fix a bug in their mail system. (Yes, it really was a bug, by any reasonable definition; SBC level 2 eventually (after 10 phone calls back and forth) asked Yahoo level 2 to look into it, and they said a few weeks later that they'd fixed it, but they hadn't.) The support techs here are aware of the bug and have failed to fix it. I ping them regularly (I've done so dozens of times) and they say they get in touch with the people responsible, but the bug never gets fixed.

See my mpower review for more about SBC's unethical business practices.

The employees do seem to try to do the right thing; the problem is probably short-term profit-maximizing middle and upper management, with the staff not willing/able to stick their necks out by doing the right thing.

It's poor value primarily because of the time I have to spend to get them to reverse overcharges from attempts at ripping me off!


A friend moved recently. She had the DSL service move with her, so as to avoid the early termination fee, and SBC insisted on charging her $50 for the move.

PacBell was unable to provide the terms for the service documenting the charge - 2 floor supervisors were unable to provide any documentation (tariff or terms of service in ANY written form - online or by fax or mail) for the $50 move fee they required if I didn't want to extend the contract; asking what fees will be charged results in different answers from different reps; no this info isn't at »sbc.yahoo.com/terms/. They couldn't take the entire order; they required me to call back after the new line had been activated to order DSL at the new place.

They refused to honor the terms stated (because I asked about them) when I got DSL; the terms were: if I move, no problem: if the new place can't get DSL, there's no termination fee, and if it can, the contract term continues. Nope: have to commit to another year, they claim, and won't process the order otherwise. This is called bait and switch and is illegal. (IANAL)

The DSL was actually alive and running days before scheduled, which was good, except no one told me this; I happened to notice that the modem got sync.


It's because their Executive Management knowingly provides these services to criminals that I call SBC an Organized Crime Syndicate.

7/04 Update: Well, spamhaus reports they're harboring more spammers than ever - 54 spammers including a dozen hardcore spam gangs. The v. long thread linked to below shows exactly how they're responsible and shirk that responsibility. I have a monitor set up to detect DSL outages since a couple months ago. It's only had a few brief outages. Speed tests have been more variable, but never terrible- not like in the past..

4/05 Update: They're hosting more spammers than ever, per spamhaus. They do so knowingly - their senior management (e.g. the head of IP services at SBC) is aware of the details of the problem and refuses to resolve it. I have contacted him personally, so I can state this as fact.

Their port 25 blocking (which they apply very rarely) is a step forward, but it hasn't impacted the volume of spam coming from their network significantly, AFAIK. I'm told that they have one person who handles abuse issues, and that he has other responsibilities as well. They generally refuse to respond to abuse issues, but if they do, my experience is that their responses are at often misleading or dishonest and at worst are provably outright lies.

(Apropos the comments from CCMTech: He has my # and all the details, but SBC continues to knowingly harbor spam gangs using accounts that remain open for months and years; that is NOT what I call HELPING, but rather what I call hand wringing. And no, the billing issue was never fully resolved; when will SBC stop lying to the PUC?)

Update Oct05 Re.: Most recent SBC DSL install (typical $15/mo+POTS+fees+taxes deal) I've been (reluctantly) involved with: It took 41 days past the initial scheduled install date to get the service working. During that period, there was a 2-day complete loss of phone service. 6 service visits and 14 phone calls were required. And the billing was screwed up, as usual. Amazingly, the offshore techs have no ability to look up any of the calls, open tickets, etc. Oh, and they send me incorrect bills: for allegedly $15/mo DSL and POTS, I get $81 bills.

Update Jan06:

"I've had several people at ASI admit to me that there is a problem in SoCal with overloaded routers. They have severely oversold their service. They are VERY careful about admitting it. There has been an internal memo about it.. as one ASI tech told me. She told me there were at least 40 routers people are on in SoCal that are completely maxed out... causing our problems.. The next person at ASI I talked to, told me that the last person 'had told me too much'. Curious."

-cb90068 ( »/useremail/u/1156234 )

I'm filing a formal complaint against SBC at the CPUC(»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPUC) apropos the discrimination and some of the other issues above that are violations of CPUC regs.

For those who think I'm not credible, here's someone else's view, which I feel helps to back mine.:

"I am completely with everyone who thinks that the Bells are capable of incredible evil and are total monopolists who couldn't care less about any concept of ethics. Having been in the ISP business for over 10 years now, I have witnessed, first hand, the incredible nasty bag of evil we call "SBC". I have the scars and war stories to prove it, brother. I believe they will do anything and everything they can to destroy all competition and take over all communications to the exent that they can do so. I believe they will break any law that suits them and just give the government a cut of the proceeds by paying a fine. It literally doesn't matter to them." - anon "Industry_Pro" on dslreports.

Update September 2008: Well, they 'only' have a dozen unresolved SBL listings. Are they being responsible? No.

I took a look at one: »www.spamhaus.org/sbl/sbl.lasso?q···SBL66244, dated 22-Jul-2008, complaining of hosting of spammer landing page at URLs such as »pws.prserv.net/RoyaltyDividends/···age.html but in the months since the complaint was filed, did they terminate? No, the page is still up, on AT&T's network.

The executive leadership of AT&T should be rounded up and shot for their frontal assault on the constitution. See »www.eff.org/nsa/hepting for details.


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