Verizon Eliminates Early Termination Fees For DSL

Verizon Communications is trying to reverse DSL declines by eliminating early-termination fees and simplifying pricing for bundles that include DirecTV service -- although cancellation fees will still apply to the satellite TV operator's piece of the bundle.

The telco said the new DSL strategy "represents a changed approach to structuring Verizon's copper-based bundles" rather than a limited-time promotion. The company lost almost 1.5 million digital subscriber line customers in 2010.

Previously Verizon charged DSL subscribers early termination fees of $165 per year, prorated at $15 per month. However, customers who add DirecTV services to a Verizon bundle must sign a two-year agreement and early cancellation fees apply.

Last June, Verizon eliminated contracts and ETFs for FiOS services across all its markets. While Verizon previously offered month-to-month FiOS bundles those had been priced about $20 higher per month than the contract term bundles.

Verizon's DSL bundles are now available in two tiers: A basic tier starting at $59.99 per month and an enhanced tier starting at $84.99 a month, both for 12 months after rebate with DirecTV's Choice Xtra package. The basic tier includes DSL of 500 Kbps to 1 Mbps and Regional Essentials unlimited local and long-distance voice. The enhanced tier features the fastest DSL available in a customer's area -- either 1.1 to 3 Mbps, 3.1 to 7 Mbps or 7.1 to 15 Mbps -- plus Freedom Essentials unlimited local and long-distance voice. DVR and HD options with DirecTV are additional.

Consumers who order a DSL-based bundle online will save $5 per month and receive a free wireless router. All bundles feature up to 4 GB of online storage, nine e-mail accounts per household and 10 MB of personal Web space.

In addition, Verizon introduced new pricing for both its standalone DSL and double-play DSL -- for which no annual plan contracts are required.

Monthly prices for "naked" DSL (without voice service) are: 500 Kbps to 1.0 Mbps at $29.99 ($24.99 when ordered online); either 1.1 to 3 Mbps, 3.1 to 7 Mbps or 7.1 to 15 Mbps at $44.99 ($39.99 online). With voice service, DSL monthly pricing is: 500 Kbps to 1.0 Mbps at $19.99 ($14.99 online); either 1.1-3 Mbps, 3.1-7 Mbps or 7.1-15 Mbps at $34.99 ($29.99 online).

At the end of 2010, Verizon had 4.3 million DSL subscribers, down 25.5% from 5.8 million a year earlier. The telco had 4.1 million FiOS Internet subs, up from 3.4 million at the end of 2009.

The phone company is scheduled to report first quarter 2011 results on April 21.