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How Much Should Broadband Cost?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the a-penny-per-bit dept.

378

An anonymous reader writes "The difference in cost between broadband options seems to be the primary motivator for consumer spending, reports News.com. Frugal consumers are opting for the lower-priced DSL options, while those with more money to spend on services are opting for cable modems." From the article: "A year-and-a-half ago, pricing of DSL and cable modem service was roughly the same. But over the past year, the phone companies have launched an aggressive assault by dropping prices. At the end of 2005, the average price of DSL service was about $32 per month, roughly $9 less than cable, according to research firm IDC. AT&T has twice lowered the price of its DSL service and now offers its 1.5Mbps service for $12.99 for the first year."

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No competition = higher prices in the future (4, Insightful)

IntelliAdmin (941633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551893)

These low prices are only to gain market share, and things will change. I think it should cost as much as the consumer is willing to pay - at least that is how it works when you have a properly working capitalist system. But you see, the large telcos and cable companies have co-opted the system, and now are using legislation, and unfair practices to keep any competition from getting into the market. When is the last time you saw a new DSL provider *other* than the phone company? I am really worried that our options are getting smaller, and not larger - thus the prices will go up, and our bandwidth will not increase with the extra cost.

In that same vein, I feel that their next step is to start trying to sand-box their corner of the Internet. That way they control the content too. It is no good as a commodity to them, they want to monetize it to a greater extent. The only way in their eyes it to first keep you from going anywhere else, second make it so their content and services are always faster, and better. Look at what some of them do already with VOIP. When my VOIP provider is choppy, and high latency who do I blame? Most customers are not smart enough and blame the VOIP provider.

Remote Admin Tools for Windows [intelliadmin.com]

Re:No competition = higher prices in the future (3, Insightful)

deadboy2000 (739605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551994)

The landline companies' biggest threat isn't not the cable company, it's the wireless cell phone company. If they can add DSL as a bonus feature on your landline, that gives them an edge. There's no reason the price shouldn't continue to drop.

Re:No competition = higher prices in the future (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552120)

That wireless cell phone company could possibly own a big chunk of the cable company or vise versa. Competition is limited at best. The only real threat to the communications monopoly is ad-hoc wireless mesh, created by the users. If you are tied to a landline or corporate wireless, then you are owned by them.

Wrong... (2, Interesting)

Ogemaniac (841129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552026)

In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers. In most circumstances, this means marginal cost plus fair return on investment.

Think about it this way. What are the things you are willing to pay the most for? How about water, for example? It surely is much more important than DSL. Yet you pay pennies for water, even though your willingness to pay is much higher. This is because the COST of providing water is very low, and competition assures that the price tracks these costs.

Re:Wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552063)

Where is the competition in supplying water? Bottled water? NOT!

Re:Wrong... (5, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552071)

In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers. In most circumstances, this means marginal cost plus fair return on investment.

whoever taught you your economics, they should be fired.

the price is determined by the desires of the buyers first, with the costs of the sellers a close second.

You cannot market a product nobody wants, or a product everyone wants out of their price range or they dont buy, plain and simple, and thus the market collapses.

Further, if you are not pressured by consumer needs and competition for those needs (e.g. if a monopoly or oligopoly is presently stifling competition) there is no reason to develop greater efficiency and lower those costs. Therefore the consumer suffers, they do not get optimal service for their dollar, and arguably the producer and even the environment suffer, as they are not making efficient use of their inputs.

Re:Wrong... (1)

wik (10258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552080)

I don't know where you live, but in Pittsburgh I pay more for water (including sewer service) for a house of 3 than I pay for DSL. Water is a municipal service and there is no competition.

Re:Wrong... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552276)

Is that for water, or your water bill?

The 'water bill' in many places includes sewage and possible other services.

What does a gallon of water cost you?

Re:Wrong... (4, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552107)

/*This is because the COST of providing water is very low, and competition assures that the price tracks these costs.*/

Huh? How is there competition in the water market? In most every city, there is a single provider working under a government enforced monopoly. The water market is probably the single most regulated market in the nation.

Also, if the cost of water reflected the costs of providing it, users in Phoenix, AZ would pay more than users in Buffalo, NY. This is currently NOT the case. The fact is, the price of water usually reflects the government subsidies, rather than actual market costs resulting in huge inefficiencies, and excessive depletion of groundwater supplies in many parts of the West.

Re:Wrong... (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552143)

In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers.

Whahahaha - you must be new to this planet. I think "properly working market" is the key phrase, as they don't exist, and businessfolk pay legislatures big bucks for "fair competitive advantages" so they can charge as much as the market will bear. The margin above cost has nothing to do with it. Time after time, if a business can reduce their cost, they will never pass the savings on to the consumer unless they have to.

Anyway, my point is, I have no DSL option, and cable costs $49 / month. I also have to laugh when these people arguing against a Net-Neutrality bill claim the 'free market' will solve the problem. For me, it's the Charter Cable monopoly or nothing [except for far out stuff like satellite Internet or something].

Re:Wrong... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552215)

In a properly working market

No such thing. Companies know they can charge more and make more profit, so long as the competition doesn't undercut them, and they do exactly that.

the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers.

That's only even possibly and remotely true if there is unlimited supply and unlimited competition.

Yet you pay pennies for water, even though your willingness to pay is much higher.

That's because 95%+ of us don't really need to go through a company to get it. They need to keep their price low because they are competing with nature itself.

Re:Wrong again! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552266)

In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers.

In a real market, the price is determined by the costs of the seller and what the competition is willing to price at.

If gas station sold gas at $1.00 while everyone else was $2.00 and they could do this for at a profit and do it without people having to wait in line for a really long time, then those who refused to lower their prices would go out of business. And it doesn't matter if they simply were greedy and wanted the high profit or just couldn't afford to buy gas cheap enough to lower their prices... They will still go out of business.

So if there is some type of competition, prices will be lowered or otherwise it will be set by whatever the single provider thinks they can sell for at the highest profit margin.

Even then... They must keep their at something they will expect someone would buy even if there is not other provider to compete with.

I mean, 100mpbs fiber would be nice... But I'm not willing to spend $500 a month to get it.

Re:No competition = higher prices in the future (5, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552082)

I think it should cost as much as the consumer is willing to pay - at least that is how it works when you have a properly working capitalist system.

Actually, with perfect competition [wikipedia.org] , firms would charge their marginal cost of producing it. The intuition behind this is that if they did not, and there exists free entry (a requirement of perfect competition), then another firm would charge slightly lower, and thus get all of the customers. Of course, in the broadband industry, there exist fairly natural monopolies [wikipedia.org] because of the huge fixed costs of the infrastructure and "last mile" runs.

Now consider what you said: the consumer's willingness to pay. If firms are able to charge as much as each individual is willing to pay, this is perfect price discrimination. DSL and cable operators do some degree of price discrimination by offering the different tiers of speed at different prices. If I understand you correctly, I'm pretty sure having DSL cost what consumers are willing to pay is not what you want. After all, I'd certainly be willing to pay a bit more for my DSL considering how much I use it.

When is the last time you saw a new DSL provider *other* than the phone company?

I am really worried that our options are getting smaller, and not larger - thus the prices will go up, and our bandwidth will not increase with the extra cost.

Yes, in reality, internet service is fairly consolidated. If you're lucky, you'll have three good choices for broadband (many have two -- cable or DSL -- or fewer). Still, in many areas services like Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] are available as alternatives in the DSL market. In my experience, options for broadband are not getting smaller, as you suggest. Some communities or apartment buildings even form their own co-op style internet service providers if they're truly unhappy with the choices. Before, when most people were on dialup, it'd be hard to convince enough of your neighbors to want to start such a service.

As for prices, we're seeing a bidding war. I would expect this to be good for consumers, so long as enough options remain. I haven't seen evidence that DSL or cable operators are selling below cost, as some have claimed. I seem to recall paying about $55/mo 5 years ago for cable internet access (in addition to the TV channels), and now prices are (much) lower and speeds are still good in most areas. The bidding wars don't seem to be driving out players like Speakeasy, so I personally just don't see such a pessimistic trend.

Re:No competition = higher prices in the future (1)

787style (816008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552300)

I wished I lived on your planet where the price of cable access has gone down. I've paid $50 a month for RoadRunner since 1999.

Re:No competition = higher prices in the future (1)

h4rryc4ry (663135) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552170)

Isn't the fact that the "real world" speeds are far less then ever advertised a part of the equation for the consumer? I pay $39.99 for Cox cable broadband. They advertise a 4Mbps connection but my "real world" experience averages 1.5, maybe 2Mbps.(going on 7 years with this co.) I know that there are inherit techincal differences in DSL and Cable broadband connections but if the "real world" speed using DSL is anything like with my cable, then the cost for cable is justified IMO. If the real world speed was as advertised, I could be happy with DSL speeds at the prices(and speeds) advertised in my area.

Cable all the way (3, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551919)

I currently pay £34.99 per month for my 10Mb connection from NTL here in England.
Even though its more expensive than ADSL, W00000t is all I can say!
I prefer my cable because ADSL still appears to dialup and the IP changes every time you sneeze.
The ethernet cable out the back of my machine is designed for super quick data connections and thats exactly what it does.

As an example:
    I just downloaded Ubuntu (697.8MB) over http in under 10minutes, ~1200kB per second is nice.

as a FYI for other NTL broadband customers get a cable modem the set top boxes cannot handle 10Mbit (but NTL will be happy to take your money anyway).

If I had any moderator points.... (1)

raz0 (899158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552060)

... I'd mod you down for flamebait. Damn you!

New Mod Label (4, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552173)

-1, Neener Neener Neener.

Re:Cable all the way (2, Interesting)

fatgav (555629) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552076)

What ADSL are you talking about? I'm on plusnet ADSL and get a static IP, 8Mb/s, all for less than 20 squid! Also my traffic isn't shafted through an array of transparent proxies and monitoring equipment like it is on ntl. It's much more reliable too, and better ping responses.

Re:Cable all the way (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552161)

A static IP on BT adsl costs £10 per month extra last time I checked.
As for the transparent proxy I haven't noticed any problems with it.
Likewise with pingtimes, I play CS and HL2 multiplayer online and can't remember the last time I had a problem with it.

I might just be lucky with my connection, but its been like this in the previous 3 houses we have lived in in recent years.
The set top boxes themselves are a different issue however and when you get a bad one its constantly bad, but get one that sits nicely and your net experience is quick and simple.

Re:Cable all the way (1)

iangoldby (552781) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552129)

I used to have NTL cable on their 2Mbps tarrif. But after a long argument about their use of RBLs to block emails from even entering their networks (not just spam emails) I moved to a 1Mbps ADSL plan with PlusNet. What has surprised me is that in normal web browsing I haven't noticed the reduction in speed at all. I'm now paying £15 a month, which is considerably less than I paid NTL. NTL were fine when everything was working, but they are well known for their almost non-existant customer service. If something breaks, you're screwed.

Re:Cable all the way (1)

onebuttonmouse (733011) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552250)

Don't tar all ADSL providers with the same brush. I have an "up to 8Mb" service, more like 4Mb in practice for £20 per month. More importantly for me, its got a 448k upload speed, and my IP address has never changed [netcraft.com] , even when I upgraded to a higher speed. Moreover, my provider [f2s.com] doesn't complain about me running things like SMTP, HTTP, FTP or DNS servers like NTL used to.

Re:Cable all the way (1)

DanielSchuller (972469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552298)

I pay 5000yen about £25 for 50Mb from Yahoo :D

£24.99 for 512/256. (3, Interesting)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551933)

£24.99 for 512/256.
But I stick with them because they have decent fast newsgroups with all the binaries. I'm talking about you, Zen.

I rang up though, and asked for IPv6 connectivity. They said they didn't do it because there was no demand for it. I said, "Well, now there's demand for it", and they said that that didn't count.

Next UK ISP with native IPv6, and newsgroups with binaries, and I'm off. You hear that, Zen [zen.co.uk] ? :)

Don't They Know? (5, Funny)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551938)

Most neighborhoods have a free wireless broadband provider... Apparently called "Linksys"...

Not to brag but... (1)

fredistheking (464407) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551957)

I get 3MB cable for $20 a month from Charter Communications. No contracts and I don't have to have cable TV service. I live in Long Beach, CA.

Lucky Bastard! (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552022)

They just upped my rates again. I pay $115 for a 3Mb connection, Digital cable, and the premium movie channels. If I drop the premium channels and down to a lower connection, my bill would actually increase to $120. As much as I hate over paying, I hate paying a company that I know is packet forwarding to the NSA and attempting to get a QoS billing scheme even more.

-Rick

Re:Not to brag but... (1)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552306)

Is this a promotional deal? Maybe I should move down there. By the way, where in Long Beach do you get free wireless internet?

Re:Don't They Know? (1)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552230)

I seem to recall seeing this comment Here [slashdot.org] .

Re:Don't They Know? (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552248)

An old joke... on SLASHDOT? No way!

$0? (0, Flamebait)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551954)

Broadband should be free -- provided by spread-spectrum radio-on-chip systems that people just generally get used to requested when they buy laptops, cellphones, automobiles, etc.

These scale backward: the more users, the better your connection.

(Here's a source on that) (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551993)

Re:(Here's a source on that) (1)

nosredna (672587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552196)

I stopped reading that when he said "Contemporary engineers say that "interference" is not given by the laws of physics."

That's the most asinine statement I've encountered all week, and I've been dealing with customers.

Re:$0? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552038)

Somebody's going to have to pay for the hardware. Your $0 broadband is a pipe dream that nobody will buy in to.

Um... How do you figure this is flamebait? (n/t) (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552041)

When I do flamebait you'll know it 2)

I'm Glad You Asked! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551968)

If you were producing the broadband yourself, laying cable, building the infrastructure, maintaining the equipment, power, cooling etc. etc. you'd think it should cost about three times what is does on today's market.

If you were a Slashdot weenie with NO FREEKING CLUE ABOUT LIFE ON EARTH, you'd think that "broadband should be a universal right" just like breathing-air. You'd probably think that Google is eager and able to provide it to but, is being held back by a corrupt legal system. You'd be a whining clueless twat!!!!

I switched for price (2, Informative)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551972)

I used to have cable (TW RoadRunner service). Never had a problem with billing or availability, speeds were advertised as 5M/768 and I was seeing about that. But I was paying $55/month for it, and when my local phone company (Alltel) started advertising 1.5M/768 for $30, I couldn't say no. Yeah, downloads are a bit slower, but still not bad (I generally see ~170MB/sec down, vs. 280 or so w/cable). Latency seems to be about the same. My only real complaint is that with RR, I had a quasi-static IP that I could access from anywhere. Now my DSL modem gets a 192.168.x.x address, so I'll have to pay if I want to put my web site back up... :/ Still, I figure I'm saving $300/year, so I'm happy.

Re:I switched for price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552132)

Are you sure your modem isn't just acting as a router (not a network guru) and putting you behind it's firewall? The single port actiontec modem I got from Qwest worked like that. You can probably access your modem's config by going to 192.168.1.1 or the like then port forward. Won't help with your IP changing, but the IP won't change if your modem is always on and connected.. at least I don't think.

Re:I switched for price (1)

awksedfred (769008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552179)

Oh yeah one other thing I forgot. You'll need to enable http requests in the services part of your router as well ;-)

Re:I switched for price (1)

awksedfred (769008) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552186)

Arg.... for some reason my first post didn't work. Here it is:

There should be another IP in your router besides the 192.168 since your router cannot be accessed for the outside with that address. If you poke around in there it shouldn't be too hard to find although the unfortunate part is that it changes sometimes. Also you should be able to specify a host on the inside for your web server. I think you just put in the host name or something.

Re:I switched for price (1)

DittoBox (978894) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552282)

I generally see ~170MB/sec down
Well hot diggity!! Where do I sign up?!?!

not really cheaper (5, Interesting)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551973)

"At the end of 2005, the average price of DSL service was about $32 per month, roughly $9 less than cable, according to research firm IDC."

DSL is still more expensive than cable unless you have a landline already. Home telephone service is around 40$/month here, which would make DSL (assuming I could get 32$/month anyway, which seems low) that would put me at over 70$. Compared to cable which is under 60$ and comes with "free" basic cable, since there's no way not to pay for that too.

I've already got a cellphone and don't have any use for a landline. Maybe if the DSL providers were actually any better than comcast (local cable monopoly), but until they are it's not worth the extra cash.

Re:not really cheaper (5, Informative)

Eldrik (25881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552101)

I just received a phone line from SBC for $5.20/month. Now this is before taxes and fees, and has no long distance, and a limit on 60 local calls per month. But because I only ordered it so I could get DSL from another provider, that's alright with me.

Basic phone service for $40/month? Sounds like you're getting ripped off and/or exaggerating.

Re:not really cheaper (1)

proxima (165692) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552135)

DSL is still more expensive than cable unless you have a landline already. Home telephone service is around 40$/month here, which would make DSL (assuming I could get 32$/month anyway, which seems low) that would put me at over 70$.

My case was the opposite, actually. I didn't want basic TV nor a landline. DSL at the faster speed is about $50 + taxes (including land line), whereas cable would be about $60 + taxes (sometimes they had deals for the first 6 months or whatever). Some people might find basic cable more useful than a landline, so YMMV. Still, it's nice to have dialup as a backup (not that I've used it since I got DSL), and not having the option to watch TV saves quite a bit of time wasted watching programs I don't like all that much anyway.

Same here, it's really $60 (2, Informative)

aquarian (134728) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552158)

It's the same with me. I pay ~$30 for DSL, but to get it I have to pay an additional $22 for a landline I don't need or want. Add the BS taxes and fees, and the total is around $60. Local cable internet is also around $30, but you can get it without cable tv or anything else. Cable service sucks though, so I'm happy to pay the extra for DSL.

Re:Same here, it's really $60 (1)

e40 (448424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552270)

If you are in CA, then you can get metered service that will cost you 1/2 of that (I pay about $11/mo for my phone).

Re:not really cheaper (1)

banjou (983131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552289)

My old contract use to run me $21.00(DSL) + $6.41 (Basic Landline) = $30.00. I re-upped my contract and now I am still paying roughly the same but I get DSL ($14.99) + phone w nationwide long distance and other misc bells and wistles ($15.00). Oh wait... and I have Satellite service that gives me 60 channels for $34.00. soooo for about $65 dollars I get DSL, Phone with long distance and Satellite! hmmm..... better do some checking around you're getting reemed!!!

Queue up the anecdotes and arm-chair economists... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551975)

Are you really going to get an answer? 50 "I pay $x for y", some "it should be free", a bunch of posts just bitching about evil corporations, complaining, trolling, some flamebait and maybe a funny post or two.

Queue up the Meta Posts (1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552085)

You forgot the meta posts listing all the types of posts you are likely to see in this story.

Re:Queue up the anecdotes and arm-chair economists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552181)

So true, and because of that you will get modded down to oblivion.

Not necessarily true. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551983)

... while those with more money to spend on services are opting for cable modems."
I don't know that I agree with that. I definitely spend more on DSL than I would with either Cable or plain DSL from ATT (I get mine from Speakeasy). I'm one their Onelink plan, which means you don need a phone /line/number from your telco. I choose to pay more for my DSL because: 1) I get pretty incredible customer support from Speakeasy and 2) Speakeasy allows me to ANYTHING with my connection. I also have VoIP through them, but for my home business I also have another VoIP account with Broadvoice. My provider has no problem with this.

I've never had cable or internet access, so I can't compare with that, however, I used to have SBC and, while the were lower priced (although not really when you take into account the phone service needed), the service itself was horrible. So was their customer support.

I'm more than willing to pay a little extra to get everything I'm getting.

forget 9 bucks difference.. what about faster line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15551991)

Seriously.. the US has become a backwater when it comes to individual residential line performance.

They lower the prices and refuse to upgrade the infrastructure. I want better infrastructure. Nations like japan and norway have shown that the consumers consider $100 a month worth it if you give them 25 to 100 mbps with an upload better than the craptastic 32kBps we get on average in the US.

Oh.. and having a modem that doesnt cut out every 5 minutes would be good too.

To get the best DSL price... (1)

not_anne (203907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15551995)

...they lock you into a long term contract. The pricing for DSL without a contract is about the same as Cable.

Re:To get the best DSL price... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552061)

Like anyone here doesn't need long term internet service ;)

-Rick

Re:To get the best DSL price... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552304)

1 year contract, 14.99 per month.
768/128

This just in! (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552037)

The difference in cost between broadband options seems to be the primary motivator for consumer spending, reports News.com. Frugal consumers are opting for the lower-priced DSL options, while those with more money to spend on services are opting for cable modems.

OK, if that qualifies as news, I think it's time to shut the computer down and start the weekend...

Really? (1)

i_am_not_a_script_03 (982677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552043)

Really?..How much should it cost? It should be free..... But human greed will never let that happen.

Re:Really? (1)

cranos (592602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552058)

Free? And how exactly is the company providing the broadband meant to pay for the upkeep of the physical network?

Re:Really? (1)

i_am_not_a_script_03 (982677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552090)

I don't know. I don't care.
And that's not the point.
And that's exactly whats wrong with everything today.

Cost of Quality (1)

Kyokugenryu (817869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552055)

I had Cable for 2-3 years, but after SBC started offering DSL in my area for $20 a month (Where Comcast was upping it soon to $65 a month), I simply had to change over. For the most part I've been happy. The DSL is noticably slower, and I can't run servers like I could before because my IP changes constantly, the price is what I love. Now I have the $12 plan, and I think it's definately worth it. I wouldn't pay any more than the $20 I was paying before, however, because the service from AT&T is terrible. When it works, it works great, but on the rare occasion it isn't working, it takes a while to get someone to fix it.

France wins (4, Informative)

GrAfFiT (802657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552070)

Let's see what 29,99 can get you in France:
24mbit internet
WIFI MIMO router/set-top box, 1gb webspace
Telephone line fees included, you really have nothing else to pay
Unlimited free national and international POTS phone
200 digital TV channels over DSL, HDTV and DVB-T compatible terminal included..

This one company litterally drove the prices down and the offerings up.. Now that the prices are low enough, everybody is catching up on triple-play. They also have other plans, like building a mesh of wifi hotspots using their set-top boxes to route free wireless VoIP calls. Free cell phones, just imagine that..

Price is not the primary motivator here... (1)

daoine_sidhe (619572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552074)

There is a local small Telco where I live that offers 3-20mbit with unlimited in-state and out-of-state long distance phone service starting at a flat $70/month. The voice is traditional, non-VOIP (no new-fangled stuff to setup), and their tech support is open 24hrs, and located about 40 miles from where I live. The service is extremely stable, fast, and reliable, and tech-support is top-notch. It's by far the best ISP service I've ever had. What's more, most of the people I interact with (I work for a small PC-repair/system builder type shop; you know the type), are quite content paying more for higher grade service/support than what they get from Verizon.

Cost is not nearly as important as knowing Mom can call tech support and get her internet 'fixed' without feeling like she just had her wisdom teeth out.

Re:Price is not the primary motivator here... (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552091)

where do you live I want to move there. here we have no CLECS or mom&pop.. we have a bell and comcast =(

Comcast (2, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552079)

My comcast service went out, and when it came back up I had to re-register it when it forced me to their "sign up and download a 20 meg exe of bullshit to get it going" which made me unplug my linux based router, plug into a windows machine to get it up again.

Once that was done, I noticed they'd pointed me to a DNS server that responded to every request with the same IP- they were bouncing all my requests through one of their servers. This broke a whole lot of shit, as you can imagine. I called to ask about this, and was promptly hung up on when I answered "yes" to "can you load web pages?"

I "fixed" the problem by finding my own DNS servers to use in the meantime, but who knows how long it'll be until they stop DNS requests from traversing out into the real 'net. I am pondering a switch to speakeasy (100 bucks a month for comparable speeds, trying to convince my wife on the its-worth-it-because-they-dont-fuck-with-you angle.)

WTF is up with that? Does anyone know why they're trying to force all my traffic access through a man-in-the-middle like this?

On topic: Comcast costs about $40 more than it should, since this new version of their "service" isn't a real internet connection at all IMO.

How does one check this? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552119)

I have comcast and noticed something similar.. but I want to use the same procedures you did to check it out.

that said though until I see net non-neutrality rear its ugly head there has been one benefit since this new protocol went up... the service has been about 20 times more stable than it used to be.

Re:Comcast (1)

cmaxwell (868018) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552183)

I haven't had these problems with Comcast, but they certainly charge "what the market will bear". Any suggestions for people who want to run a small-volume webserver at home at better speeds than Comcast or other cablemodem ISPs will offer? I just want to serve my Gallery photos at a decent clip...

Re:Comcast (1)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552227)

I was running a drupal+acidfree site from home for awhile, but gave up due to connection instability and started forking out the $10/month for hosting over at dreamhost. Photos are pretty bandwidth-intensive, especially if you want folks to be able to download full-res images (slashdot effect, anyone?). When I had my site going, I could tell when folks were on it by the slowness of my connection.

so sad :( (1)

carlosGames (943841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552084)

the prices here in mexico are 32dlls for 512kbps and 60dlls (aprox.) for 1Mbps :'(

should be like roads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552088)

broadband should be free, provided by the most-local layer of government, as are most roads, paid for by a fee levied on providers of specific services (could be an exception for "public access channels") and/or a tax, like fuel taxes. users should be able to contract for whatever services they desire, from whomever they desire them. the 'phone companies would compete to provide voice; the cable companies, studios, indies, ... would offer their wares (s, not z); ISP-like entities would handle mail-like services, photo sharing, ...; hosting providers would continue to do what they're doing now; game servers would still be available. the biggest hit would be on ".org" sites that have no specific revenue streams, but those are either paying a provider now, so could pay the fee, or guested on another site, so they can continue. the nice part would be that all of the vanity sites would now pay to clutter up the web.

Re:should be like roads (1, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552137)

broadband should be free, provided by the most-local layer of government, as are most roads, paid for by a fee levied on providers of specific services

Sure, and food should be free, housing should be free, transportation should be free - can't live without those things. Maybe we should just live in a Star Trek world you freakin' Commie.

If the 'most-local layer of governments' provides a service IT'S NOT FREE!!! Where do you think the fees levied on 'providers of specific services' comes from? The consumer, you and I. All getting the government involved does is hide the actual price that the cable company gets paid because they sign some magic contract with the city that you and I will never see.

fyi... (2, Informative)

zptao (979069) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552092)

I use AT&T's service (the 'Pro' plan), and I max out at something like 250kbps/52kbps. They use the diffrentiation between bits and bytes to fool you into paying for shitty speeds.

Re:fyi... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552206)

No... you're just an idiot and don't know that 3Mbit isn't the same as 3MB.

I currently use SBC/ATTs "Pro" plan as well, advertised 3mbit. It costs $17.99 per month, and I have a 6.50$/month phone line to keep it on. TOTAL: $24.50 before taxes, not bad.

Now I just moved to an older house, and only actually get 2.5mbit, but in the new condo I moved out of I was getting the full 3. You really can't beat it for the price. And anyone is in "the know" knows that you can call and threaten to cancel and get your service renewed at that price for another year.

I also love how Cable One locally advertises their 1.5mbit service as "5 times faster than DSL" (or maybe its eight times, but you get the point). I want to call them and tell them to lick my balls! Their service for 1.5 starts out at 30$ before taxes for the first 6 months only.

Re:fyi... (1)

VisceralLogic (911294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552214)

Interesting... I have their non-pro plan, and I get 167/32 KB!

Re:fyi... (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552261)

Time warner's road runner service for 30 a month for first 6 months (i just cancel and resign up every 6 months) i get 5mbps speed up and about 40-60 KB/s upload.

austin texas :-)

Re:fyi... (1)

dave1g (680091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552286)

oops 5mbps down

unhappy comcast customer here (1)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552095)

I have Comcast cable internet, and tv with some of the goodies. Supposedly, its 6Mbs. Yeah, right. I get at most, 400k down on torrents.


  The problem is, where I live (Southeast of Portland, Oregon) there's no competition for broadband and they know it. Comcast is it. Period. Every time i've called customer service to complain about it going out twice a day, they tell me "well, thats too bad, would you like to sign up for our voip service?".


I pay about $50 a month for it too, which I consider to be way too expensive considering the speed and reliablility, but I'm locked in.


Anybody know an alternative? I've heard bad things about satellite, and as far as I know, there isn't any community wireless around here, except for some belkin router at one of my neighbor's houses, which I assume is hooked up to the same crappy connection i get.

Re:unhappy comcast customer here (1)

Zed2K (313037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552128)

You do realize your torrent download speed is proportional to your upload speed? I'm willing to bet you are getting 400KB not kb which is 3.2Mb. Yeah its not your 6Mbs that they say but your upload speed is probably only bad like all cable modem users. That would drag your torrent download speed down. A better test would be a huge file from microsoft, those things fly down.

Re:unhappy comcast customer here (1)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552178)

Correct. I'm not at home right now, so I can't test my upload speed, but I believe it to be somewhere in the 512-768k range. I didn't bother to mention it earlier, but I have gotten comparable download speeds via ftp back before bittorrent was being used as the primary means of getting linux ISOs. Haven't ever gotten anything better than that though. Broadbandreports.com puts me between 2 and 4 megabits.


The speed thing doesn't bother me as much as the connection instability, and lack of features (static IP, real DNS servers). I've asked them to replace my cable modem and gotten a flat "no". Can't wait til there's some competition in the area so I can switch.

Only cheaper for the first month... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552097)

Then they crank up your $12.99 "introductory price" to $49.95/mo.

Uh, try for the first *year*... (1)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552221)

After which time you can cancel your contract and get the current "new customer" rate for cable internet. And once that deal is over, go back to DSL as a "new" customer (or try a different DSL provider). Ah the fun of a merry-go-round.

Resist the running dog scum (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552098)

Direct links to the printable version of the article are disabled, so here it is in handy Slashdot comment form. Muhaha!

A new kind of digital divide is emerging in the U.S. broadband market.

On one side are middle-income and price-sensitive households, which tend to favor DSL service offered by phone companies. On the other are more affluent families, which gravitate toward higher-speed cable modem services.

According to a recent report published by Leichtman Research Group [com.com] , about 21 percent of households earning an annual income of between $30,000 and $75,000 a year subscribe to DSL. About 18 percent of these households subscribe to cable. By contrast, 37 percent of all households with annual household incomes over $75,000 subscribe to cable broadband and 27 percent subscribe to DSL.

"Clearly price is much more important at this point in the game," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. "Middle-income families making the jump from dial-up to broadband are much more price-sensitive, and clearly the phone companies' messaging on low-priced DSL has gotten through loud and clear."

A year-and-a-half ago, pricing of DSL and cable modem service was roughly the same. But over the past year, the phone companies have launched an aggressive assault by dropping prices. At the end of 2005, the average price of DSL service was about $32 per month, roughly $9 less than cable, according to research firm IDC.

ATT has twice lowered the price of its DSL service [slashdot.org] and now offers its 1.5Mbps service for $12.99 [slashdot.org] for the first year. Since ATT's prices are promotional, after the first year, the price of the service jumps to the company's regular pricing model, which is $29.99 per month. Verizon created a new tier of service [slashdot.org] , which includes 768Kbps downloads, for $14.95 per month.

Price pressure
Regardless of household income, the promise of lower prices has also convinced some cable subscribers to switch to DSL. Dan Spencer, 38, of Norristown, Pa., had been a Comcast broadband subscriber for over three years. But after he realized his family was paying over $100 per month for high-speed Internet access and TV service, he decided to abandon Comcast for EchoStar's satellite TV and Verizon's DSL service.

"My wife usually pays our bills," he said. "But one day, when I saw how much we were paying Comcast for our cable TV and broadband, I was shocked. It was outrageous."

Spencer said he now pays about $75 per month for TV and Internet access, and he estimates he is saving roughly $45 per month over what he was paying for the Comcast service.

The low cost of DSL has kick-started DSL subscription rates [slashdot.org] , helping DSL providers increase their total customer base by 39 percent in 2005, according to Forrester Research. Verizon alone signed up 613,000 new high-speed Internet subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2005, a record for the company. It continued the strong growth in 2006, having signed up 541,000 new subscribers in the first quarter.

But the phone companies' success hasn't meant the demise of cable, which in total saw broadband subscriptions grow 21 percent in 2005. In fact, cable companies have also set new records in recent quarters for the number of subscribers they've acquired.

Comcast, the largest cable operator in the U.S., added 436,000 new subscribers in the first quarter of 2006 [slashdot.org] , the largest number of new subscribers the company has ever signed up in a first quarter. And Time Warner, the second-biggest cable company in the nation, had its best quarter ever for broadband subscriptions [slashdot.org] , winning 343,000 new subscribers in the first quarter.

"Our competitors attempted to start a price war last year," said Keith Cocozza, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. "While some broadband providers lowered prices, we didn't, outside our standard promotional pricing. And over the last few quarters, we've seen some of the strongest growth in new subscribers."

Mining dial-up users
Growth in broadband for cable and DSL isn't expected to slow anytime soon, as dial-up users and people who have never subscribed to a broadband service come online. Nearly 30 percent of all Americans don't have any Internet access, according to the Leichtman Research Group. And of the 69 percent or so who do have access to the Internet, about 40 percent are still using dial-up. Cable and phone providers see these untapped markets as ripe for new business.

"Everyone wants to make it a horse race between cable and DSL," said Leichtman. "The truth is, there is plenty of opportunity for both sides to win."

But he added that he sees a growing division between consumers subscribing to cable and those choosing DSL. Cable is perceived as the leader in speed and performance, whereas DSL is seen as the economical choice, he said.

Had no choice (1)

futurekill (745161) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552111)

Where I live I can't get DSL (too far from the CO) we had to get a cable modem. The thing that really blows is that the cable company in my area has a monopoly so there is no competition so the price is never competative.

age discrepancy (5, Interesting)

Triv (181010) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552114)

For the most part, young people get cable and older people get dsl. Why? Because young people tend to have cell phones and no landlines in their homes, so factoring in the cost of maintaining a phone line that nobody'll use bumps the price way up.

Why cable companies haven't changed their marketing to reflect this, I have no idea. Behind the times, I guess.

--triv

mod Do3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552138)

When will we quit shopping for price... (3, Interesting)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552150)

And start shopping for service.

Just got of the phone with FIOS (verizon) - for 34 dollars they can get me a nice fast completely non-functional DSL connection. Of course to get what this geek really REALLY wants (simple, static address - ToS that allow me to run services) will cost 99.95 a month for the same upload speed.

Idiot on the phone line couldn't justify the 60 dollar cost difference, other than to say that is the price difference between static and dynamic IP (well, the download speed on the static was a little faster - They couldn't price out a static address on the slower speed).

This was all started by Verizon sending a flunky to my door saying they were REQUIRING me to change to FIOS. Was a fun discussion with said flunky -
"Will you allow me to run a service"
"What do you want that for"
"So I can run my e-mail server"
"We provide an e-mail service"
"No you don't"
etc. etc. etc. Turns out they really were just looking for upgrade oportunities - wonder how many of my neighbors fell for it (I know one didn't because said flunky said the guy down the street was asking the same questions
"The one with the Dogs?"
"Yeah, how do you know"
"Because he is a system admin - and he is smart"

Phone Companies? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552152)

...the phone companies have launched an aggressive assault by dropping prices...
Sad to see that folks are already assuming that RBOCs control everything that comes over their lines. I admit we're getting there, but there are still independent DSL providers. I'm a fan of Sonic.net, which is not only cheap and well-run, but reasonably geek-friendly. Or if you're a serious geek with semi-deep pockets, you can try Speakeasy, which doesn't even require that you have phone service.

Free (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552160)

As a consumer, I say it should be free.
As someone who wants free broadband, I say twice as much as it costs now.

In my experience, DSL isn't that cheap (1)

GyroLC (956990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552166)

My girlfriend recent got Qwest DSL with the $29.99/month promotional fee. However, there are so many taxes and fees (not including installation) the cost is closer to $65/month, which is more than I pay for Comcast's cable internet.

SBC/ATT and DSL Offerings (2, Informative)

mrsteele (246533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552172)

They may have lowered their prices on some options, but they are raising them on others. I just got a notice a month or so ago that they were raising my DSL price by 50%, but offering me "no commitment" (I had previously had 1-year contracts for 2 years). I called to investigate, and to inquire about the advertised $12.99/month deal. It turns out that the advertised special is for a new service that isn't available in my area yet, and might not be for years. So that isn't an option. ANd the company has raised prices on the old service (that I have) to encourage people to switch to the new service. But I can't switch. And after talking with three people (two different supervisors) it seems clear that they can't make any exceptions. Each person agreed it was stupid, but could offer me nothing.

So rather than simply leave me and my service alone, so I can continue to pay them every month until they have the new service to offer me, they are encouraging me to look around at other options. The only other broadband option available is Comcast. I don't like them very much, and would rather stick with my DSL, but priced over the next twelve months getting cable broadband is quite a bit cheaper. I can always reevaluate in a year.

So in some misguided attempt to encourage people to switch services, they are losing customers. ATT is going to fall quite far before it rights itself.

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552184)

What should 14.4kbps cost?
Fancy v.90 56kbps? (X2 anyone?)
That awesome dual channel 128kbps ISDN?
Cutting edge (cirka 4 years ago) 1/512Mbit ADSL?
Current bread and butter 8/4Mbit ADSL?
Wish-it-was-faster-still ADSL2?

The last is costing me roughly the same now as the first on my list did not that long ago. The exact numbers are irrelevant. The answer is obviously, less than last year and still less next year in terms of absolute bandwidth.

If you think the "broadband" in the US is at some sort of plateu, think again. If you're a _telecom_ and think than, we'll you're probably already fucked.

4.5mbits (1)

AnyThingButWindows (939158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552189)

I myself in my office have 4.544 mbits down / 1.544 mbits up cable w/static IP. I pay $119.90 a month. It comes from the local cable company which has somewhere around 3,000 broadband subscribers. The service may go down 5 minutes a month. It doesn't go down often. It has to be a very bad storm for it to go out. On a good download fom a kernel.org mirror I can get 560 kbytes a second.

DSL almost always requires contracts... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552192)

... There may be exceptions, but I have yet to live in an area with a provider that doesn't require a 12-month contract with a large penalty for cancellation of your DSL. The penalty is often more than just paying the remainder-- I paid $25 a month to my last provider for four months after I moved out of their area because it would have been over $200 to cancel. Not to mention, if there was a problem (like when the DSL was out for a week) they took their sweet time to send someone out... Because what was I going to do, cancel with eight months to go?

The cable provider I use now (like most other cable providers) is month to month, it costs a little more but I can get out at any time and since they are trying to keep me as a customer the service is much more prompt.

It's not necessarily price driven.. (1)

wangmaster (760932) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552197)

For me, the choice between cable and DSL was a nobrainer. I've had DSL since 1998 with Qwest. I could have had cable about a year later than that, and initially cable and DSL was slightly cheaper than Qwest DSL and significantly faster for download, and slightly slower for uploads. Over the years, comcast cable has surpassed Qwest DSL in cost and in downstream bandwidth, and depending on the service level is pretty close to equivalent with Qwest DSL in upstream (at my current service level, Comcast cable has 6M/768k down/up for roughly $10/month more than my 3M/640k down/up Qwest DSL).

However, it was never a choice between Qwest DSL or Comcast cable for me. Comcast cable uses dynamically allocated addresses, has restrictions on servers. Qwest DSL allowed me to pick an ISP that I wanted. Qwest itself has very little restrictions on the usage of the DSL line itself, and my ISP allows servers, and pretty much whatever I want to do with practical and legal limits. I have a /29 netblock, which I couldn't have gotten as an option with Comcast cable, and in order to get static addresses and allow servers I'd be looking at 2-3x the cost of what I'm paying for DSL.

While, admittedly, my needs are a "niche" consumer market, and one not likely to be targetted by any providers, DSL is far more suited for my use than anything cable gives for reasons beyond pure bandwidth.

Now if only US providers would get off their asses and offer ADSL2+, I might be able to get 7/896 service that I'm currently out of range for :)

Brighthouse Commercial Cable Service (1)

electronerdz (838825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552207)

I pay $190 a month for 5Mbs/712Kbs service and 4 static IPs. I think its outrageous how Brighthouse can charge this for their commercial customers. And I'm not even in a commercial building, so it's less that what it is for most people. But, it is cheaper than a couple T1's.

mo3 up (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552219)

The sticks (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552225)

I moved to the sticks a couple of years ago. The rednecks here can barely keep the dial up service working. As my ONLY choice, I pay $600 / month for a 3 year contract for a t1. The t1 has yet to stay up for 5 days in a row, so cost recovery via business hosting is impossible. I tried dial up a couple of times, but the line quality was so limited I couldn't even keep up with windows update (or yum update or whatever).

The local phone company people tell me this area is not likely to ever see high speed internet. Man I wish I could bitch about the high costs of my adsl line / cable connection.

Short term price war (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552262)

Once he war is over, and the opposition is wiped off the face of the map, you can expect the prices to return, then exceed, what we have seen so to date.

It's the government, stupid. (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552278)

Government clulessness has a large role to play.

Under pressure of the telecom lobbies, the US government has made extensive non-moves, leaving the issues solely to the frea mahkit, which always translate in the companies gouging their clients with extremely poor service.

In much saner countries where the government does not lick big companies arses, there have been positive measures and involvement so the broadband penetration is much higher.

For instance, I am a member of a telecom co-op and pay around $45 (US converted) per month for 2MB down/ 512 up with a static IP address and absolutely no ports blocked nor bitching for running a mail/DNS/web server.

Such a scheme would be totally unthinkable in the USA where the telecom lobby goes to great length to prevent governments from doing stuff that they would never do (watch the municipal wifi debacle).

I'm a consumer (1)

i_finally_got_an_acc (861122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15552288)

I'm a consumer, so broadband should be free ;)

comp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15552296)

here dsl and cable. the lowest tier you can buy...

are within 10 dollars of each other.

but. for the extra 10 on cable. you get 3x the speed of the dsl offering.

and ALOT better upload speed.

plus not dealing with the phone company is worth $20 alone.
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