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Mobile

SBC plans tiered DSL service

The telecommunications giant will offer a variety of speeds and prices this fall for its digital subscriber line service, after a similar move by rival Covad.

SBC Communications is joining the tiered pricing parade.

The telecommunications giant said Wednesday that it will offer a variety of speeds and prices this fall for its DSL (digital subscriber line) service. With the move to tiered pricing, SBC follows DSL rival Covad Communications, which is also launching varying prices based on speed.

DSL providers are just getting rolling with tiered pricing, while their cable brethren have been more aggressive. AT&T Broadband said earlier this month it will offer a faster, pricier level of Internet access called UltraLink.

SBC, like other broadband providers that are dropping one-price-fits-all flat fees, said its "personalized" pricing structure will convince more consumers to ditch their dial-up accounts by offering cheaper but slower service. However, critics of such plans assert that providers are simply squeezing more money out of consumers.

SBC, whose subsidiaries include Pacific Bell, Southwestern Bell and Ameritech, said it hasn't determined exact prices yet and added that the services may not be available everywhere.

SBC's DSL Basic package will offer a downstream of 384 kilobits per second and an upstream of 128kbps. DSL Standard Plus, geared to consumers who download music and video, will feature 384kbps to 1,500kbps downstream and 128kbps upstream. A deluxe package, targeting telecommuters, will offer 768kbps to 1,500kbps downstream and 256kbps upstream. All three of the aforementioned packages offer one dynamic IP address.

Other packages, which can be used for e-commerce, video conferencing and Web hosting, offer up to five static IP addresses with speeds of up to 1,500kbps to 6,000kbps downstream and 384kbps upstream.