Best DSL deal's on the DL

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: You can tell how competitive the high-speed Internet business is by the inescapable flood of ads on TV, billboards, and of course the a€˜net. With a battle so fierce, you might think providers would want to flaunt their lowest prices. But Rachel Dornhelm has word of a new bargain that AT&T prefers to keep quiet.

Rachel Dornhelm: This week, AT&T came out with its lowest price ever for high-speed DSL: $10 a month. But AT&T is keeping this DSL offer on the DL.

Bob Rosenberg: No, I understand why they're not making a great advertising splash about it. They're right at the knife's edge of their margin.

That's telecommunications analyst Bob Rosenberg. He's not surprised links to the offer are hard to find.

The $10 deal was a concession to the Federal Communications Commission when AT&T merged with Bell South. It's available to people in 22 states who haven't had the service in the last year.

Rosenberg says the fact the FCC required this cut-rate service reflects another era of telecommunications, when companies were heavily regulated and thought to be filling a social need.

Rosenberg: The perception is that Internet access an unalloyed good.

Another AT&T concession — cheap DSL without phone service — will be rolled out by the end of the year.

I'm Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.

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