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Covad's DSL still in the buff

Several thousand naked-DSL customers won't be affected by recent decision.

High-speed Internet provider Covad on Monday assured several thousand of its "naked DSL" customers that they won't be affected by a recent Federal Communications Commission decision to suspend state rules forcing phone providers to offer DSL-only service. The ruling, made public Friday, lets the nation's four top digital subscriber line providers continue to require broadband customers buy a local phone line.

The controversial decision affects a large swatch of telephone customers, including the 20 million U.S. residents who don't have local phone lines, relying only on their cell phones. In the states where the naked-DSL rules were voided, customers may now have to get a local phone line to also get a DSL connection. The ruling could also trouble customers who'd rather cancel their local phone line and use voice over Internet Protocol software--which lets an Internet connection serve as a telephone line--over their broadband connection.