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Pacific Bell - SBC page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 1854 reviews (980 good) (463 bad)
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Review by jmorlan See Profile

  • Location: Pacifica,San Mateo,CA
  • Cost: $39 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 45 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Fairly reliable, good value."
Bad "Billing screwups never fixed, long waits on hold to support"
Overall "Good when it works."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

When I moved into a new house, I ported my old phone number and ordered DSL at the same time. This was in December 2000 and the start date was supposed to be February 1st. The deal was $39.95 /month with a $100 modem charge that would be rebated with a self-install.

The modem and software arrived separately. Install seemed to go well until I tried to register at the registration site. The site was down that weekend. Many calls to support and hours on hold found that nobody could manually register me although some people tried. None of these attempts worked. Finally a week later the registration site worked and I was actually online.

The next horror story was when the bill came. I had been charged for two accounts and two modems. One of the accounts was a bogus one that a support person had created to try to get me online while their authorized registration website wasn't functioning.

A call to billing got the charges reversed, but on the next billing the reversed charge for the modem was added again. This continued for several more months. Eventually I was charged for five modems and credited for only three. I was still out $100 for a modem I never received. As of now this issue is STILL UNRESOLVED. They claim it takes two or three billing cycles for the credit to show up on my bill. This is insane. It only takes one billing cycle for charges to show up.

My next issue was the speed I was getting. I was capped at 386. I finally got them to lift the cap to 768, but my modem wouldn't sync. So I had to have it lowered to 386 again where it was reliable. Recently I installed a Seicor Splitter that I bought cheap on eBay on the outside and did a homerun wire directly to my modem. After that my line quality improved so that I was able to get the cap lifted to 768. They claim I'm over 18,000 ft from CO so I'm lucky to get that speed. My modem will now sync anywhere between 544 and 640.

Another separate issue was that my modem died 3 months after installation. A tech came out and confirmed the modem was bad. He told me to return it in the box it came it. The modem came with a return USPS mailing label which I used. I then learned that I had sent the modem to the wrong place. PacBell doesn't warrant modems after three months. The modem needed to be sent back to Efficient Networks in Texas who told me that it needed an 8 point ROM upgrade which takes at least six weeks because they have to send it to Mexico to get it done!

I was not optimistic about ever getting my modem back, so I bought a cheap internal modem on eBay and was back online in two weeks. Eventually I got the modem repaired and returned and it seems to be working well now, but I'm still out the $20 for the internal modem and have not yet been credited with the two weeks I was offline, although billing promised I would be. I'm still waiting for the "two or three billing cycles" for the credit to show up. Sigh.

If I had to do it over again, I would have told them I had no USB port or ISA slots and insisted on an ethernet modem. I now know they are faster and more reliable than the cheap USB modems they give you.

Another problem is usenet service. When I first joined, we had access to a wonderful fast feed offered by flash.net. Unfortunately SBC decided to shut it down and we are now limited to several other slower and poorer servers and it's getting worse. The loss of flash.net means that if you want fast, reliable nntp service with complete binaries, you will probably have to pay for a premium news service provider. As yet, I haven't done that, but instead pieced together a multiplex solution with multiple news servers. The loss of news.flash.net added insult to injury. It was a shining light in an otherwise rather abysmal enterprise.

Another issue is that PacBell DNS servers are crappy. That can slow down surfing considerably regardless of your connection speed. Here in Pacifica, PacBell is about the only game in town, but if cable becomes available, I will seriously consider it.

In general I would rate my experience with PacBell DSL as unsatisfactory.

UPDATE 26 September 2004

I'm still with them and things have improved. I added a "home-run" line with an external Seicor Splitter which stabilized my line. Eventually I dumped the old 4060 USB modem and bought a used 5100b on eBay. The results were dramatic. My sync rate went from about 550 kB to 1500 kB/sec; close to triple my former download speed. Then I added a LynkSys wireless router and speeds increased a little bit more.

It's nice to be getting the full speed out of this connection finally. Also my upload speed is now 384 which is quite nice. Furthermore the price has dropped since I signed up. I'm now paying $26.95 /month with a one year contract.

The email services under Yahoo are a little better, but the usenet services continue to deteriorate. It's still an excellent deal for pure bandwidth, but ISP services are below par.

Edit June 28, 2007

Not much has changed since my last update. The service is solid and reliable. The name has changed to AT&T; prices have dropped and gone up slightly. I'm now on a one-year contract at $19.99 with a one-month free deal.

Billing screw ups are now fixed promptly. There were a lot of billing problems early on, but not any more. Service is better now I think

Edit February 20, 2008

Service has been solid. I am still on the $19.99 per month deal for 1.5/385, but I had to call them to get the promised free month. The Usenet offerings are still very weak. I had hoped the merger with BellSouth would have strengthened Usenet but that has not happened. I bought a spare modem, a 4100b on eBay for $15 which I am now using. It's a little more stable than my old 5100b which I'm keeping for a backup.

They seem to have no interest in opening up the nearby RT to my address. I am currently at the limit they offer DSL. In fact my neighbor on one side is not eligible for DSL at all. If I give up this service, I would probably not qualify for new service at this location. I think I'll keep this service for as long as I can. It's a good deal for the bandwidth.

UPDATE March 29, 2010

Service continues to be very reliable. However, they still think that I'm eligible for an upgrade when I'm too far from the CO and have 61db attenuation to make it work. After my telephone bill went up a few months ago, I called to find ways to reduce my monthly bill and the friendly CSR reduced by Express DSL service fee from $25 to $20.

member for 13.5 years, 5240 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 4.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by Neosum See Profile

  • Location: Merced,Merced,CA
  • Cost: $49 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 5 days
  • Telco party SBC
Good "Excellent speeds and so far no downtime"
Bad "Terrible tech support"
Overall "I got my dsl installed within one week from my order date."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

I recently moved and instead of moving my dsl service, I ordered new service and got a new modem. Unlike my first experience, this time around the process went smoothly. I got line sync within 4 days but could not connect because they had not completed my installation.

I gave tech support a call to try to get it connected since they did it for me the last time I ordered dsl. I should have kept the guy's extension number who helped me out last time because the tech I spoke with this time around didn't seem to know what he was doing. After about an hour on the phone, he told me my due date wasn't until another 2 weeks.

I was able to connect early the very next morning. Great service since then with no down time. I look forward to more package options though. Right now their enhanced service costs too much.

BTW: My service was working a few days before the equipment arrived. I was able to connect with my old modem at 1232/136 speeds.

member for 14.2 years, 3279 visits, last login: 6 days ago
updated 4.4 years ago

Comments:

Review by rickwms See Profile

  • Location: San Francisco,San Francisco,CA
  • Cost: $70 per month
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Service has been consistent for the last 12 years"
Bad "AT&T took over"
Overall "Overall I have not had any bad experience in 12 years"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
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I have had this service for 12 years now with very little disruption in service during this time. I'm looking at switching service only because I use online video viewing more now at high def and I want the fastest service I can get.

member for 4.4 years, 5 visits, last login: 4.4 years ago
lodged 4.4 years ago

Comments:






Review by Logan 5 See Profile

  • Location: Hayward,Alameda,CA
  • Cost: $45 per month
  • Install: about 5 days
  • Telco party SBC
Good "Service Since 1998 has been good. AWESOME!! BBR AT&T Forum Techs!"
Bad "12 years later AT&T doesn't want to keep me as a customer!"
Overall "Naked DSL is the way to go if you dont need a landline...."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

1st Review early 2002:
I have had PacBell Residential DSL since it was rolled out in my area in 1998. At that time when I placed the order which was $29.99/month for the first 3 months then $39.99 after with a 1 year contract & free modem, I was told that the best speed I could get was 768/128 because I was 18,500' from the (at the time) closest CO.

I went ahead and ordered it and have only had 2 outages up until last week, when their mail server(s) was acting up and was down for several hours. Of the 2 prior outages, one was my fault the other Pac Bell's, so 2 total outages in 4 years.

When I followed the guidelines in the BBR Pacific Bell Forum on how to get my line speed 'upgraded' I called and was surprised to discover that I should have been getting 1536/128 service all along and that my line was always capable of that speed....regardless of what the install tech told me back in 1998.

Can I recommend Pacific Bell/SBC DSL for new users? YES! but that yes is qualified with the understanding that you do your homework on DSL technology & service offerings FIRST before dealing with them, otherwise you could get yourself into a situation you might not want to be in otherwise.

SBC is not the ISP for the complete n00b or people who need lots of handholding....remember it is what it is, but if you know what you are doing, It can be a very easy process from the time you place the order to the time you go live.

UPDATE: 08/2003
I recently had my original PPPoA DSL Modem die a smoking death (I DID have it since 1998), so I went and found a replacement modem on Ebay...turns out it was PPPoE, so I had to get the techs from the Broadbandreports.com Pacbell/SBC forum (Toaster2k) to re-provision my line. I am now getting an even FASTER upload speed (215k) and was taken care of in just a few hours from my initial dealings with the guys in our forums. Pacbell/SBC is still what it is...but these guys are making it better and better ever day!!

UPDATE: 06/07/04
Called about a month ago to see what current packages with higher speed tiers were available and was told that I'm still too far away from a CO or RT to get anything faster than my current 1.5/256k service. I asked them how I could get that cheaper since $49.99/mo was expensive for that service. They were able to re-rate me for another 1 year contract all the way down to $26.95/month..!

I guess it was an even trade since I couldn't get anything faster for the old price, I got the old service for a new lower price. It's on my bill now and life is good!!

Pacbell/SBC is still what it is...but if they are willing to deal like they did with me, that goes a long way toward keeping me a loyal and satisfied customer in the future.

UPDATE: 07/18/05
A new year and a new promotion. After waiting a reasonable timeframe to take advantage of the latest and greatest deal that SBC has on Basic DSL, I am now the proud owner of my service for only $14.95 per month! Like I said above, if SBC was willing to deal (they were) it did indeed go a long way toward keeping me happy, because honestly before the $14.95 promotion, I was seriously considering Comcast and their 4.0/384 deal that I could have gotten for a VERY competitive price.

UPDATE: 10/25/05
Nothing really new to report except an outage in my CO back in September that had me down for 2 days...Was told it was a temporary 'glitch' but it's odd that only after I complained about my complete loss of signal and sync (though my router showed me otherwise) did they take me seriously enough to look and fix whatever failed at the CO.

UPDATE: 05/31/07
Another new year, another plea for help in getting upgraded to something faster then my entry level 1.5down /384up. THIS TIME, things are much different and not in a bad way either! I requested prequal assistance in the AT&T Direct Forum and I was able to after talking to one of the Forum techs there, FINALLY get my speed package increased to 3.0down/512up for $5 month more then I was already paying. I'm on a new month to month agreement & while I was told the upgrade would not happen until 6/4/07, I am already seeing 2.1down and 418up on speedtests so there was ZERO wait time.

Am I happy? - Sure am, it's about time someone took me seriously and listened...

UPDATE: 06/23/07
Holding strong at about 2.6-2.7 down and 488-495 up. What's remarkable is that I am getting almost the max rated capacity out of my connection (TCP overhead wont let me get the full speed) with being 18,500' feet from the CO... I was told that I might drop signal and have to be throttled back down because of the extreme distances involved but in the last 24 days since my previous review, all is still good and my signal to noise ratio has actually improved..

A BIG thank you to the Techs in the AT&T Direct forum for doing what the standard Tier I/II AT&T Call Center Techs were afraid to do.

UPDATE: 02/01/09
I moved back in October, 08 and the place I moved to was far closer to the CO then my old one was, so I was able to cancel my old DSL/telephone service and re-subscribe to the Elite Tier (a.k.a "Naked DSL") for only $44.95/mo. ! On Speed tests I am averaging 5.1-5.2mbps down and 603kbps up so it's definitely a HUGE improvement! No problem and everything is working well and latency is low so gaming is better then ever! Plus no monthly caps doesn't hurt either!! =)

UPDATE: 09/17/09
Actually nothing new to report since my last review except to say that even if I were to ever leave AT&T I'd still get to keep my old legacy @pacbell.net email address....I'd be able to use and access it through att.yahoo.com which is huge as it gives me even more choices then before!

UPDATE: 12/12/09
Still going great and I love the fact hat there's STILL no monthly caps and that I have the freedom to use the internet the way that I want to....within legal reason of course...

FINAL UPDATE: 02/13/10
After making a very tough decision, I have made the switch to Comcast HSI & am dropping my DSL that I've had for 12 years in March. I've outgrown the 6/768k connection I currently have and was basically coerced in to this decision by AT&T's declining my uVerse application. $48/month for a 22/5 connection vs. $45/month for a 6/768k connection...... This is a no-brainer if you do the math.

'Cmon now AT&T if you don't want to lose MORE long-term members like me you REALLY need to step up your game and offer incentives to keep us.


member for 13.2 years, 4230 visits, last login: 1.9 years ago
updated 4.5 years ago

Comments:

Review by USAOwnz See Profile

  • Location: P.R.C.
  • Cost: $36 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 11 days
  • Telco party SBC
Good "Speed is not too far from advertise, and pings are amazing!"
Bad "Non so far"
Overall "Get it!"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

Well, here is how it goes I was just surfing around and for a joce I went to sbc site and went to the residential section to look to see if it was availible. At the time I didn't know it was so it was just for fun, and long and behold it was; however, only the cheapest package 384/124 great considering the fact that other ISPs won't even bother. Now, I ordered it at the 7th of November, but the order got a little corupted, I guess, and I had to order it a week after. Now it was scheduled for the 19th, I got my self-install package the 14th, afterwards I got my service activated the 18th! When I hooked it up I got 164/100 speeds, ugh, but my dad and I got some heavy duty line and hooked it from the telephone box to my room and now it is 324/218! now that is a much more respectable speed and I get 40-90 pings in east and west servers the highest it ever goes is 120 in america's army. Their tech support is crap, they really need to fix that. Though the DSL reports techs kick ass and are very knowlegible.. If you have XP you won't need to install all that other softawre because you can just connect to it via your XP connector.

Overall, I recommend it if you don't have anything that exceeds the criterea of SBC or if it is cheap cable that you can get 10-40ms.

Update:12-08-03

I just got my Deluxe package upgrade activated even though I am 13500 feet from CO, I get a steady 1.3/324, it is great!.

Have not received upgrade to pro package, that's really bad.

SBC's lack of Fibre program is dissappointed, and they have piss-poor speeds now for the price. Moreover, one of the reasons for this is that DSL has limitations on distance, but still. Only solid good thing they have is that they won't cap you or give you any crap. Speed is the only issue, if you can get by that, then SBC is the best.

Verizon is beating the living crap out of them with thier FIOS service, with those fantastic speed, and the fact that Distance is not that much of an issue. Even if they eventually adopt ADSL2+ there still will be the issue of the distance.

2.9.2008 Update:

Been solid, but same speed for the past years

28.09.2009 Update

It's still running well, unfortunately I haven't had a speed upgrade due to the technical limitation of DSL, and the fact that we only have a C/O which is about 4 km away. Still, not complaints, it's been like a tortoise. Slow, but steady and never quitting.

member for 10.7 years, 3220 visits, last login: 4.5 years ago
updated 4.8 years ago

Comments:

Review by gauntlet136 See Profile

  • Location: San Jose,Santa Clara,CA
  • Cost: $55 per month
  • Install: about 8 days
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "Fast connection and cool new features over DSL"
Bad "Missed install date ... what tech support?"
Overall "Pleased with the experience"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
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My Other Reviews

·Charter
I have been an AT&T DSL subscriber since 2001. When I saw VRAD installation activity near my house last April, I got excited at the prospect of gaining access to Uverse. I continued to watch throughout the summer as fiber optic cable was laid and power finally applied to the new VRAD in August. About a week later, I checked for service availability on the Uverse web site and was allowed to schedule an install ... WHOOP!

I replaced my landline and DSL with Uverse’s unlimited voice (VOIP) phone service, “Max” high-speed internet (up to 12 Mbps down), and the U200 TV package. Although I could have scheduled the install as early as 5 days from my order date, I chose a Friday morning so my order to live time turned out to be 8 days. The installer showed up 30 mins into the 2 hour window provided by the scheduling tool. He surveyed my condo, and he and I discussed my options. My condo is about 20 years old so it only has Cat 3 wiring to two rooms as well as old coax to the family room and an upstairs bedroom. I have been running a wireless home network so the installer and I agreed that running the Uverse signal to the family room via coax would be the best choice. From there I could hook up my existing wireless router to the Uverse residential gateway (RG). The RG would sit right next to the Uverse DVR providing a signal to the TV in the living room and my wireless phone base station would be relocated from the kitchen to the family room as well. I was happy with this setup as my condo does not allow for easy installation of Cat 5 wires in the walls without significantly ripping up walls which was (and still is) not an option.

From start to finish, the installation, account registration, and checkout was complete in under two hours. Because my servicing VRAD is about 300 feet away from my front door, I have a VERY strong signal. My line stats follow:

DSL Down Up

Current Rate: 25216 kbs 2048 kbs

Max Rate: 61880 kbs Not Available

Current Connection:

Current Noise Margin: 26.5 dB Not Available

Current Attenuation: 10.6 dB Not Available

Current Output Power: 14.3 dBm -25.4 dBm

Service has been exceptional (speed tested at ~11.1 Mbps down and ~1.4 Mbps up), the HD picture quality is better than what Comcast provides, and the features included with the Voice service are appreciated. My wife and I were able to keep our e-mail addresses dating back to the “pacbell.net” days. As a bonus, our order qualified for $250 in rebates.

Very pleased so far ...

member for 13.2 years, 395 visits, last login: 213 days ago
updated 4.9 years ago

Comments:

Review by mikek753 See Profile

  • Location: San Jose,Santa Clara,CA
  • Cost: $52 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 10 days
  • Telco party SBC
Good "tech. support"
Bad "price, customer support"
Overall "customer support waiting time is killing, don't match Comcast $19.99 price"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

I didn't rate Tech. Support so there isn't Customer support categories.
Tech. support - tech. people are great, where Emerging product dept the same as bad. Waiting time on phone usually more then 30 min then they will ping-pong you to another one and again another 15 - 30 min waiting then after 1 hour they will tell that order was placed and in the next two weeks you'll see these changes. But after 2 week nothing happened. I called to Tech. Dept. and was told that they can't do much so my "profile" still has old data and I need speak to Emerging people that just they can allow do something to tech. So, I'm again waiting on hold about 30 min to talk to Emerging dept. (1-888-884-2375).

Update 08/2009:
In the past years Comcast increased speed and lowered price. The last offer from Comcast was $19.99/month for 12 months for 12mb/s, where SBC wants $34.99/m for 6mb/s
I was not ready to drop SBC/ ATT, but soon I'll.
Why to pay more for less speed?
the price includes land line.

member for 11.7 years, 789 visits, last login: 1.2 years ago
updated 4.9 years ago

Comments:

Review by grendal See Profile

  • Location: Fremont,Alameda,CA
  • Cost: $35 per month
  • Install: about 9 days
  • Telco party SBC
Good "relatively stable, good speeds, good price"
Bad "nothing major yet"
Overall "good speeds at a good price."
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Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
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Value for money:

No major issues w/ Elite plan for the last 5 years.

member for 12.8 years, 2599 visits, last login: 2 days ago
updated 5 years ago

Comments:






Review by rameus See Profile

  • Location: Martinez,Contra Costa,CA
  • Cost: $35 per month
  • Install: about 1 days
  • Telco party SBC
Good "Reliable/Speed/Price"
Bad "What's not to like?"
Overall "Prices dropped and speeds increased- again!"
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Had it for 2 years. Good speed 'cause I'm close. One outage and a couple E-mail issues since install, For the most part, it's been reliable. Running Cayman DSL, all is well. Running 5 machines on (11) 100meg ports. Don't need support 'cause am qualified and support myself. (I here the support is lacking though). Anyhow, beats the SNOT out of dial-up.
Would I go with cable to save money if it were available, I would.

Just renewed to a new 1 year agreement with a monthly savings of $15 for the entire term. Promo pricing was worth the phone call. No changes to the account were made accept for the billing amount.

Update: 02/06/04
Upgraded to 6/384-608 in mid Dec. on 12 mo. contract for $99.
Prices drop on Feb.2 and now I get 6016/608 for &45.00.
Where else are you gonna get a DSL deal like this?
Beats me!

Update: 06/08/05
Still solid on 6016/608. Going on 6 years now on my copper CO line in a 60+ year old house.
Would I change? Why?? For those who can get it, it's only getting faster and cheaper.

Update: 04/03/07
upgraded to Elite- 6016/768 on 04/02. Time to live: 12 hours, WOW!
Saving $10.00 a month from previous tier and how can that be bad.

Update: 03/08
I don't see myself going anywhere else anytime soon........

Update: 07/09
Still on and still stable. I think Uverse will be available here soon, if not all ready,
new VRADs all up and down Pine street, Prolly won't jump though. Call me old fashioned but I still like my line powered land line. Hey!, it's California.

member for 13.5 years, 4732 visits, last login: 16 days ago
updated 5.1 years ago

Comments:

Review by setaylor See Profile

  • Location: Sonoma,Sonoma,CA
  • Cost: $36 per month (4 month contract)
  • Telco party AT&T
Good "cheaper than Comcast"
Bad "Awful customer service"
Overall "Avoid like the plague unless you are broke or desperate"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
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I install highspeed Internet for many businesses and individuals. I cannot tell you how horrified I am when I hear "they just signed up with ATT".

Rarely has an installation gone smoothly, especially if there's something tricky like you used to use Earthlink DSL and now you are switching.

One hand does not talk to the other, and those hands are all in the 3rd world. Once you get through their overloaded call center, you invariably get transferred, often dropped, then told to call another number that is no longer active. Each time you have to start from scratch.

This is NOT a high-tech company. They are good at advertising and billing. They are awful at provisioning, awful at technical service, and awful at internal coordination.

PLEASE do yourself a favor and don't cheap out if you can at all avoid them.


member for 12.6 years, 1074 visits, last login: 6 days ago
lodged 5.1 years ago

Comments: