How to get Embarq DSL without local phone service (aka dry loop or “naked” DSL)

I recently moved back to Pennsylvania and the house that I moved to has but one option for high-speed internet: DSL provided by Embarq. Unfortunately, Embarq is not as progressive as their competitors that offer DSL as a standalone service. If you are not savvy about so-called dry-loop DSL (or as Embarq calls it, “naked” DSL), you will be told that Embarq DSL requires local phone service in order to operate.

Simply, this is a lie and one that Embarq uses to keep many customers attached to services that they may not need or have occassion to use. I am one of those customers as I use VoIP to keep my phone bill in budget and I pay for only the services I need and use.

Several months before I moved, I started researching my options with Embarq. Several calls and online chat sessions with Embarq turned up no leads, but one chat session did yield some promising news: Embarq offers dry loop DSL services only as a retention tool to keep existing customers from cancelling all services.

The representative that gave me this valuable information also provided me with a phone number and told me to ask for the “retention department” when I called. I did so and obtained pricing on standalone DSL from a retention representative, but only after my call mysteriously dropped for several tries previously.

Several weeks later, I was ready to place my order for just the DSL service. Unfortunately, when I called to order the service, I was told I could not and that there was no such “retention department”. I was also told that I was mistaken and that Embarq did not offer naked DSL under any circumstances, not even for existing customers who were threatening to cancel. I needed to get the service started, so I decided to place an online bundled service order and address the problem later.

After I had a phone number and my phone and DSL accounts established, I got online with Embarq’s chat and asked to cancel phone service. An online representative told me that he could not process such a request and that the only option I had was to call or visit my local Embarq retail store.

My local Embarq retail store was the key to obtaining dry-loop DSL. I visited the closest store and told the sales person that I needed to make some changes to my service. She was happy to assist me until she pulled up my account and then I asked for naked DSL. The conversation took a different turn and I could tell that I was asking for something Embarq does not like to do, but will do to keep a paying customer.

First, I was asked how long I had been an Embarq customer. I presume that she considered giving me a line that I had not been a customer long enough to qualify for the retention offering. Then, she asked how I knew that they even offered the service. At this point, the manager showed up and they both indicated that dry-loop DSL was a new service Embarq had just started offering. Again, I know this to be a lie as reports online show that customers have been getting this service for quite some time.

Embarq would do well to be honest with their customers. Perhaps offering us what we truly desire and establishing a level of trust would positively influence future buying decisions in the favor or Embarq. Instead, Embarq chooses to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting customers and lie to us. Believe me, when competition is available in my area, I will jump ship quickly.

If you are trying to get Embarq without the local phone service, my advice is to keep trying and, if possible, visit your local store. If you are not successful, message me and I will give you the contact information of the representative I dealt with. You can get naked DSL from Embarq too!

UPDATE 04/21/09: I have been receiving a lot of inquiries asking for the contact info for the rep I spoke with that allowed me to get DSL without phone service. The Carlisle, PA store is the retail store I visited to get set up with this package and at least two people (a manager and an employee) there know that this offering exists. If you are an existing customer, they will allow you to cancel phone service and maintain DSL service standalone. This is the direct phone number for the Carlisle store: (717) 249-2282; hours are M-Sat 9am-7pm and Sunday 11am-4pm.

Regarding billing: My first full bill with only DSL is EXACTLY $39.95; no taxes, surcharges or other fees are shown on the bill.

24 Responses to “How to get Embarq DSL without local phone service (aka dry loop or “naked” DSL)”

  1. I got a flyer in the mail from Embarq in January offering DSL with no phone line in Western PA. I never called because I am happy with my service now, but it looks like they may be getting ready to start offering this from the get go.

  2. Greg, interesting to know. Thank you for writing!

  3. How long did you have the phone/DSL service prior to canceling the phone service? I’m moving to a house that is only served by Embarq and I want to begin with naked DSL but I’m hitting the same roadblocks as you in that all the representatives are telling me “at this time we are not offering naked DSL”. I am contemplating signing up for their bundled service but wondered how soon after signing up I can cancel the phone service.

  4. Hi Scott, I canceled my phone less than two months after it was hooked up. You might be able to cancel right after you obtain the service and your local phone number.

    Best of luck and please be sure to report back, detailing the area you live in and how successful you were so that others can do the same if they wish.

    Thanks! -Dennis

  5. As a note, I was quoted $39.95 for 3Mbps naked DSL from Embarq. I do not subscribe to any other services that Embarq offers.

  6. Wow, nothing changes in the world of Embarq.

    I’m just curious — did they charge you the “Local toll carrier change” and “Long distance carrier change”, too? 🙂

  7. Hi Dennis… I am having the same problem and nothing but lies from Embarq… now they charge me a surcharge for voicemail that was suppose to be free and surchrage free… and I don’t even use voicemail or my telephone service but in order to get a good price for the internet I had to bundle. Its funny how they can charge you $200 for cancelling a bundle but they can change the terms of a contract and you have no say… my next step will be to visit the store and see what they can do for me.

  8. Thanks for this post! Found it through Google. I’m trying to get Embarq to cancel all my services except DSL, but every time I call customer service I get a different quote with different rates. It’s ridiculous. I did ask about this option and every rep told me it wasn’t available, until today. This rep told me it was $39.95, but that it wouldn’t save me any money because taxes were about $25/month on it (uh, what?! no…) and that I couldn’t give up my phone line because 911 doesn’t work on my cell phone (even though I’ve used it before and it works fine). So, I stopped trying to negotiate with him and will just call back another time until I can HOPEFULLY talk to someone who’s just gonna be straight with me.

  9. I am having an ongoing problem at night (7PM-11PM) with low download bandwidth. I pay for 1.5 Mbps but only receive .4-1.0 Mbps at night. I have complained over and over. They put a splitter in my house entry box. Still slow. They moved my port. Still slow. They (said) changed the board in the switch. Still slow. They won’t even pay their people overtime to personally verify what I’m saying. I guess I’m going to try the BPU next. Maybe they or a politician can get them to fix what I am paying for. I forgot to say, it’s now June 15th, 2009. I would NOT recommend anyone to get DSL from EMBARQ unless they have NO alternative!

  10. I was finally able to cancel my landline telephone today while keeping DSL with Embarq. I’ve asked for this on several instances over the past 5 years. I will be paying $5 more monthly for DSL due to losing the bundled discount. I see this saving me $15-$20 a month. Not much, but given I was not using the service it was worth the time used to make the call.

  11. I moved into a new construction home in FL in Oct 2008 and have had DSL only (no phone) from day one. DSL costs are included in the homeowners dues in my subdivision. Everyone told me (including the new home saleswoman) that DSL was free (paid for in HOA dues) as long as I subscribed to regular phone service. When the tech came out to install I just said all I want is DSL, no phone, and that’s what he did. I do not even get a bill from Embarq (except for the initial bill for the cost of the install).

  12. I was given the same garbage that you all were on the phone the other day — You have given me ammunition to go fight for just the land drop — I wish there was another option for this service, because this company has no idea what customer SERVICE is about…..!

  13. I complained to embarq that my first bill with embarq had charges for services I did not want. I offered to cancel and received naked dsl. It works. why pay for bundled services if you do not have to. I was told I had to pay for extras in order to have embarq dsl. Bottom line, tell them cancel and you will be suprised. Even got credit for past “extra charges”. Tallahassee, Fl.

  14. Hello, I am reading a lot of these comments and would like to break everything down for everyone. i work for embarq retail and some of this is true but some of it can easily be solved. Representatives are the ones who are able to change your service if you do not go through customer service. You can get HSI stand a lone if you want, you just do not qualify for a lot of the promotions offered by Embarq with other services if you do this. Stand a lone dsl varies in rates based on promotions in certain areas to certain customers. Just thought everyone would like to be informed the real way because going back and forth with different people will never get you a direct answer. Yet, you may want to find a representative who is honest and who is not just trying to sell you things. Me personally, I just sell what the customers request. Yes, I do offer services that may be of interest but at the same time, your the ones paying for it. WHen you have stand a lone dsl, the rate is more expensive for the dsl by itself rather than it would be if you combined it with a phone. Yet, depends on what you are being offered as far as service goes. Wish you all the best!

  15. Hi Embarq Employee,

    Thanks for writing; it is good that you are honest and sell only what the customer really wants. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people at Embarq (as witnessed by my experience and the experience of a lot of others) who are either not aware that DSL is available standalone or just plain lie to make more sales. I know this first-hand through my extensive conversations with more than a couple reps. who continued to change their story as I went from playing ignorant consumer to knowledgeable techie. Some would stick to their story, but others would keep throwing up roadblocks to getting what I really wanted, often contradicting what other reps. had just told me.

    For me and a lot of others, it makes more sense to spend $39.95 each month to buy just the service I wanted vs. “saving” $10 on the internet service, but then paying $29.95 + all of the taxes and surcharges ($10+ in my area) for “bundled/discounted” local phone service that I would never use. The net effect in the end is that I save nearly $40 every month by dropping the local service.

    Keep up the good work. As customers, we DO appreciate the honest sales reps out there! I appreciate your contribution as well.


  16. I am looking for a stand alone/dry loop in Fullerton, Ca. 92835. Can anyone help?

  17. Hi Jane,

    You might want to try calling the phone company and asking for pricing on an “alarm circuit”; from what I understand, many phone companies have this available and you do not have to worry about the circuit going through switching equipment which messes with data signals. Typically, these are used by businesses who may have multiple buildings they need to tie back to a central panel. Once you have your “alarm circuit”, you can use a 2-wire modem on either end to drive a low bandwidth network. makes many different units to do just that.

    Probably 10 years ago, “alarm circuit” made sense to Sprint reps at the time, but “dry loop” or “dry pair” was not terminology that they were familiar with. Otherwise, make a friend that happens to be a telephone line technician and get the inside scoop. Best of luck!


  18. I had both phone and dsl through Centurylink/Embarq. I called them regarding the costs of pure dsl. They gave me a quote of 29.95 for 1.5 M and 59.95 for 10 M. So I got my number ported to a VOIP provider. Well when I did this Centurylink cancelled my phone and dsl. Of course I only requested that the phone to be disconnected. Now to get the dsl hooked back up they want 49.95 for the 1.5 M. They are feeding a line that the only way to get the 29.95 rate is to be an existing customer (which I was) and talk to their “cancellation” department. They say there is nothing I can do now to get the lower rate. Must be nice having a monopoly over the internet in alot of these areas like mine. I’ll get an air card before I pay them that much for the service especially after they just quoted me lower rates a week ago that are no longer available to me. How convenient. Anybody have any suggestions on how to get a better rate? It seems like everyone you talk to at this company tells you a different story. Maybe that is why they change their name every few years.

  19. Greg – what was the toll free number on the flyer from Embarq – I lost mine and I’m trying to get a friend hooked up with “naked dsl” and the local Century Link/Embarq store won’t do it without bundiling. Thanks

  20. i have this …century link co.. i complain about my phone bill every month.
    i got the DSL…first it was $20 a month..then the phone bill went up to $67 a month..WHAT? i do not use my landline barely at everyone i know is long distance. MY internet was only to be $19.95 with tax.. and the phone was never more than $30- WHY? i do no t have bundled as i want to see my charges.
    Embarg changed the bill …now i am waiting to see what the next ‘surprise bill’ will be on the phone. I want to change phone co but cannot in Carlisle..WHY? i also cannot change Electric CO? every month it is a different bill — I DO NOT USE MY LANDLINE AT ALL.WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING IT..?i cannot afford long distance.. EMBarq should be ashamed !

  21. I am looking for internet service in the Carlisle PA area that does not require a contract at a reasonable price. I called the number above and was offered $34.99 with a 2 YEAR contract. Is anyone aware of any service that is available for no contract. It is outrageous that this whole industry is becoming contract contingent. I have gotten internet, both DSL and cable, for $20.00 a month and no contract in the past. Economies of scale should be bringing these prices down, not raising them. Where is the increased efficiencies the industry? There, I vented. Any ideas, please let me know. Thank you!

  22. just go to You can order it there without any hassles.

  23. Hi Miro, Thanks for the tip! Things have definitely changed in 2 years as CenturyLink (formally Embarq) has done a complete 180 on this issue and now allows customers to subscribe to DSL only.

  24. called 2dy 2 have local calling service dropped on previous local calling and dsl service line. no hassle with call. rep adv me that 911 service would still be active and local calling service would b dropped within 24 hrs leaving me with dsl only service as requested.

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