Review by Ledgem
Good "Stable service"
- Location: Pittsburgh,Allegheny,PA
- Cost: $64 per month
- Install: about 1 days
Bad "Mandatory phoneline results in huge fees; speeds are not optimal"
Overall "Be aware of the true costs; go with a DSL provider that doesn't require a dial tone line"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
I ordered Verizon's 1.1 to 3.0 mbps down, 384 kbps up "high speed internet enhanced" service for $29.99 per month. Because Verizon requires their DSL customers to have phone service, I went with their cheapest phone plan in my area, which tacked on another $8.87 per month to my bill. That would be less than $40 per month, which isn't bad. So why did I list my monthly total as $64? Read on.
Installation started with a bit of a jump. Verizon allowed me to choose my service installation date, which I set for about two weeks from the date of order (which would be a few days after I would move in to my new apartment). The next day, I received notification that Verizon had shipped my DSL modem and equipment to my the service address (which I hadn't moved in to). Not only that, but they had sent it by two-day shipping. I called Verizon to request that they hold the shipment, but they said that there was nothing that they could do: I would have to take it up with UPS. Thankfully my new building's management was willing to accept the package on my behalf and delivered it to me when I moved in, but this was a rare case of corporate efficiency that could have been a small disaster.
Service to my apartment was live even before my service date, which was a pleasant surprise. I never interacted with a technician throughout the process.
Verizon supplied me with an Actiontec GT784WNV modem. I quickly grew unhappy with it, as it did not support bridge mode. I stopped using it and went back to using my old Windstream-supplied Sagemcom F@ST 1704. No problems. Verizon also supplied me with gobs of phone line filters, including one large type that their manual indicates is optional and supplied by request. I didn't request it, but they don't seem to have charged me for it, either.
During the first week the internet felt very slow to respond to things like clicking on links. Speed tests showed that I was getting 1.5 mbps down and 370 kbps up. About one week later, the speeds increased to 1.77 mbps down and 500 kbps up. It has been over a month, and the speeds have not changed since then.
Where my negative rankings come from is the phone line. I was absolutely shocked when my first bill arrived, stating that I owed $152. There were the expected charges of $29.99 for DSL service, $8.87 for phone service, and $20 for shipping the modem to me. Then there was a one-time $40 charge for connecting the phone line (!), a $7.45 charge for simply having the dial tone line (which will be an additional monthly charge on top of the phone plan), and then a series of taxes, fees, and surcharges that amount to $17.96 per month (of which one charge - the "federal subscriber line charge" - is $11.45). The exact additional fees will vary depending on location, but if you're used to having DSL without a dial tone line, be aware that the additional fees for having that dial tone line can add up to a substantial amount. (By comparison, when I had Windstream's "green streak" DSL (no dial tone line), my additional fees amounted to less than $5 per month.)
I called Verizon to verify if all of the charges were correct. I give their phone support credit for sounding competent (and I was impressed to be connected to an American, even though I called at 10 PM Eastern time). The representative that I spoke to verified that the charges were correct, and that my monthly bill would be $64 and some cents.
Basically, I was paying double that I had expected, all because of the dial tone line that I will never make use of. For $64 I am getting 1.8 mbps service; I could be on a 20 mbps plan with Comcast if I really wanted to pay that much per month.
Based on the advice of other users, I have initiated a transition from Verizon to DSL Extreme. DSL Extreme provides service through Verizon, and allows Verizon customers to have DSL without a dial tone line. I only wish that I had known about them sooner, which would have saved me a month of dial tone fees and the $40 dial tone setup fee.
I will update this review once I have transitioned to DSL Extreme, and will report on how Verizon handled my account cancellation.
The transition to DSL Extreme was smooth overall. The DSL services were switched over to DSL Extreme within about five business days. It occurred before my service-ready date and I received no notification about it: internet service wasn't working one morning, but changing the PPPoE account information from Verizon's to DSL Extreme's brought me back online. Verizon automatically stopped billing me for DSL at that point, and they also cancelled my email account (again, without warning). No big deal to me as I wasn't using it, but worth noting for those who do.
DSL Extreme's customer service people noted something interesting while taking control of my line. Apparently Verizon had given me my line a hard cap of 1.5 Mbps. DSL Extreme requested that to be resolved, and now I'm at a consistent 2.8 Mbps down, and around 720 kbps up. Service is stable. I'm paying less and got a speed boost - nice.
The only area that gave me trouble was getting the line converted to dry loop DSL (removing voice services). DSL Extreme required that I call Verizon and have them put a note that said something very specific in my customer file. The first Verizon representative that I spoke with bristled over what I was trying to do and informed me that they could not do what I was asking. The second Verizon representative was willing to put the note in my file, but he paraphrased what the message was. Because of that, DSL Extreme was rejected when they tried to take control of the line. A third Verizon representative made the note and read it back to me so that I could be sure of its accuracy; the line was converted to dry loop shortly thereafter.
I called Verizon to stop billing for all services, but the representative informed me that there was nothing to cancel; it seems that each service had been cancelled as DSL Extreme took control and made their conversions. Very nice.
I'll update if Verizon comes after me with more bills, but otherwise this has been a pretty painless process. As I mentioned before, I only wish that I had known about DSL Extreme and gone with them from the start. I would have saved quite a bit on the line installation fee, as well as that month of voice line fees.
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updated 2.5 years ago