As expected, Bell Atlantic today announced a new plan for residential ISDN service that cuts prices anywhere from 15 percent to 86 percent.
The Baby Bell announced several levels of pricing for Integrated Services Digital Network connections, all of which apply a monthly fee and additional per-minute charges--2 cents a minute for prime-time hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and 1 cent a minute for off-peak hours.
For $31 a month, for example, a user gets 20 free hours plus per-minute charges for every hour thereafter. Unlimited usage is a flat $249 a month. Measured service, which costs $23.50 a month plus per-minute usage charges for all time spent online, will only be available to residents of New Jersey and Virginia.
While the new rates don't compare directly to the former pricing structure, unlimited access previously cost $1,206 a month, according to the Consumer Project on Technology, a consumer advocacy group that tracks ISDN rates.
Bell Atlantic will file its pricing proposals this week in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. If approved by state public regulatory commissions, the rates should take effect this summer. The company will propose similar rate plans in other states in its coverage area "in the not-too-distant future," according to a company spokeswoman.
Consumer advocates and computer industry leaders welcomed the rate drops, claiming that current ISDN rates are far too high and pose and obstacles to widespread implementation of the digital, high-speed service.
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