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United Online launches Juno Broadband

The company starts up the high-speed services in Indianapolis and in Nashville, Tenn., as part of its deal to use cable systems from Comcast.

    United Online on Thursday announced the launch of its Juno Broadband service in Indianapolis and in Nashville, Tenn., as part of its deal to use cable systems from Comcast.

    United Online, which provides low-priced Internet access through its NetZero and Juno services teamed up with Comcast in February to provide broadband access. Thursday's announcement marks the first implementation of the deal.

    The services will run over the cable systems of Comcast, which also provides its own broadband services, and which is seeking regulatory approval for a merger with AT&T Broadband, the telecom giant's cable assets.

    Two pricing plans will be available: Juno Basic Broadband, at $39.95 per month, and Juno Platinum Broadband, at $44.90 per month. Cable companies have been shifting toward tiered pricing plans to help lure more dial-up customers to the higher-margin broadband services.

    The prices are about equal to, if not slightly higher than, other tiered service offerings. Cox Communications, for example, has tiered pricing in Nevada, Texas, New England and parts of some other states, with services starting as low as $26.95 a month. Charter Communications' lowest-priced service ranges from $24.95 to $29.95. The less-competitive prices mark a change in strategy for United Online, which has taken the dial-up market by storm by significantly undercutting the prices of competitors such as America Online and EarthLink.

    Juno plans to add value to its broadband services by combining no-cost dial-up service. The Basic offering includes a Juno Free dial-up account, and the Platinum service includes a Juno Platinum dial-up account. By bundling dial-up with broadband service, United Online said it could provide customers with the ability to check mail while traveling and use the same e-mail address for both services.

    Both services require a one-time activation fee of $49.95 and an additional modem rental cost of $5 per month if the customer doesn't own a compatible cable modem. The service also includes a 30-day, money-back guarantee.