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Verizon Communications cuts DSL prices

The company, formed by the merger of local phone giants Bell Atlantic and GTE, cuts prices for its high-speed Internet service by 20 percent in certain regions.

    Verizon Communications, formed by the merger of local phone giants Bell Atlantic and GTE, has cut prices for its high-speed Internet service by 20 percent in certain regions.

    The price cuts, which bring the service cost down to $39.95 per month from $49.95, became effective July 1 for Bell Atlantic Internet Solutions' high-speed, or "broadband," digital subscriber line (DSL) customers in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states such as New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

    DSL technology allows for fast Internet access over existing see story: Verizon who? phone lines, which are capable of delivering "always on" Net access and phone calls simultaneously.

    The DSL price cuts are expected to allow Verizon to better compete with similar broadband Net access technologies offered for about $40 a month by cable operators. Major cable TV companies such as AT&T and Time Warner deliver comparable high-speed consumer Internet services and so far have an early lead in market share. Time Warner broadband unit Road Runner has a strong presence along the eastern seaboard.

    Verizon's DSL price cuts, announced only days after the close of the massive Bell Atlantic-GTE combination, signal the company's competitive intentions. Earlier this week, the company's Verizon Wireless unit announced a series of regional low-cost calling plans, particularly aimed at families.

    The DSL price cuts also mark the latest in a string of broadband price cuts that underscore the maturation of the high-speed Net access market.

    Several other service providers have trimmed prices in recent months in an effort to attract as many new customers as possible before the competition stiffens. In addition to lower-cost service, many broadband providers have stepped up their marketing efforts, embarking on advertising campaigns to tout their now lower costs and various features. The ongoing price and marketing wars have escalated with the popularity of the broadband services, though many customers still cannot get high-speed Net access because of high demand and geographical factors.

    Verizon's consumer Infospeed DSL offers speeds up to 640 kilobits per second (kbps) where the service is available in New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maine, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.