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Getting dry DSL hassle-free

VoIP and dry DSL can be simple to get

The second article in an occasional series.

Success can be defined by the goals one aims to achieve, and, within that framework, my goal of getting dry DSL to use VoIP can be easy, too.

Surprisingly easy, in fact.

The difficulty, as always, is in the details — and that’s where I stumbled previously.

Since ranting about the difficulties I encountered, two colleagues successfully accomplished that end goal I’d missed. Both, however, were setting up a new VoIP phone number on a new or pre-existing high-speed service.

Transnational VoIP

Both Vonage and Primus offer the ability to pick phone numbers from a wide number of area codes in Canada or the U.S., and thanks to the way VoIP works, that formerly geographically-linked area code can travel with you wherever a high-speed connection is available. The promise of portability, combined with low long-distance rates and clear-sounding calls, is what led to the first success.

A friend visiting from New York wanted a Toronto-area number in preparation for a return back to this city. After we talked a bit about the benefits, he purchased a VoIP package from a local store here in Toronto. Upon returning to the United States, he had a working 416-area phone number ringing in his New York apartment. There were no problems setting the number up, and there haven’t been any problems with the connection. Both he and his wife are sold on VoIP and probably won’t go back to the plain-old telephone system.

Drying out the high-speed

My prime difficulty has been determining who was responsible for separating my local phone number from my DSL service. Bell said it was the VoIP providers, and they said it was Bell. Neither would or could (I think Vonage’s support staff are in the U.S. and may be unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Canadian system).

But, as another colleague discovered, if your setting up a new high-speed service, going dry is easy. In fact, it was so easy, the biggest complaint he had was being put on hold for about fifteen minutes. Because he was setting up a new Sympatico (Bell’s ISP, and the main DSL provider in Canada) account and was getting a new number, the entire process took less than twenty minutes. His new house will have a dry DSL connection within days, and soon after that, a VoIP phone service.


I never contacted Primus the last time. I said I would, and didn’t. The Primus Web site indicated that I would likely need to maintain a local phone number as well as a my new VoIP one, which defeated the purpose of dry DSL in my case. I didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I needed a rest.

Today, after checking the Primus site, that caveat is gone. Vonage still says its not possible.

Today I will try Primus.