My dad recently ordered DSL from Earthlink (provided by Sprint) and was having trouble getting it running. Basically, the software they provided was hanging during installation, so it looked like the overall install just didn’t work and he was doomed to dial-up. The box he had was a basic self-install kit, and the #2 step was “Run the installation software” (after “prepare your PC”), so any normal person would think that installing the software on the CD they provided was a necessary step.
Luckily, I’m visiting my parents now in North Carolina, so I was able to take a closer look. I had the same problem with the install software hanging, and then it hit me — he probably didn’t actually need the software to get things running. I guessed that the software was probably just a bunch of unnecessary marketing crud. He had all the wires connected properly, so I decided to try hooking the DSL modem up to the computer and seeing if it worked. It did — he had it right all along.
Why do DSL companies do this to their customers? Why not just tell them that the software is optional?