RealTime IT News

SBC Sweetens The DSL Pot

SBC Communications, Inc., is kicking its first-to-market strategy into high gear, deferring payment and reducing shipping costs to digital subscriber line-enabled computers until 2001.

In a promotion running through Oct. 31, SBC is delaying its $59.95 per month, 28-month contract for a customized DSL-enabled Compaq Computer Corp. computer until Jan. 1, 2001. In addition, shipping and handling costs have been halved, from $198 to $89.

In a separate promotion geared towards small businesses, SBC is cutting its monthly fees by $20 to bring more customers into the fold. In addition to the five static IP addresses the package offers, businesses can now order 384Kbps service for $59.95 and 1.5Mbps service for $179.95.

SBC officials are willing to absorb the upfront cost of the promotion, seeing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Michael Coe, SBC spokesperson, said the promotion makes good business sense. The small price loss in the beginning will be more than made up with customers that stay with SBC long-term, since most people tend not to stray from their fist DSL provider.

"The PC promo has been very popular for us, but the upfront cost was stopping a lot of people from getting the service right away," Coe said. "So we wanted to make it more affordable by cutting the shipping and handling in half and giving customers the opportunity to wait before having to make payments.

"Our retention rate for DSL customers is very high," Coe continued. "So we want to get as many people as we can signed up for our DSL service. In the end, we think it's a very good business decision."

Jason Few, SBC vice president of broadband communications, said families looking to save money in the closing months of 2000 have found the perfect solution.

"With this promotion, the upfront cost is dramatically lower, enabling more people to experience high-speed DSL Internet service on a new computer," Few said. "Lowering upfront costs is particularly important at this time of year when back-to-school and holiday expenses can be high. The PC will come configured for DSL technology, enabling customers to quickly set up their DSL Internet service when it's most convenient for them."

SBC has been riding high on a wave of popularity since the October, 1999, start of Project Pronto, a $6 billion initiative to bring in residential DSL customers. Since the program started, its broadband communications division has seen an explosion of DSL demand, garnering 435,000 customers as of mid-August, and making it America's number one DSL provider.