Juno Broadband Enters Comcast Country

Juno, a division of popular dial-up Internet service provider (ISP) United
Online is going high-speed in two U.S. cities Thursday,
the first step in the company’s strategy to provide cable modem service
throughout Comcast Corp.’s network.

No timetable has been announced for Juno expansion into other Comcast
markets, as this agreement is merely a “template” for future roll outs,
according to Jenni Moyer, a Comcast spokesperson. The cable company
has agreements with other national ISPs, she added, notably the EarthLink field trials
in Philadelphia
. Juno is also conducting field tests in the Philadelphia

Juno’s basic cable Internet service (which comes with free dial-up
service), now available in Indianapolis and Nashville, costs $39.95 a
month, if you already have a cable modem. If not, the ISP will charge $5 a
month to rent the equipment. There is also a $49.95 activation fee for new

Mark Goldston, United Online chairman, president and chief executive
officer, said Juno customers have a habit of upgrading their service within
the company, and expects the same with its new high-speed offering.

“Millions of Internet users have made the switch to our free and
value-priced Internet services because of the quality of the dial-up
services we offer,” he said. “We are pleased to now be offering residents
of Indianapolis and Nashville high-quality broadband service over the
Comcast cable system.”

Juno Broadband also offers an enhanced package for users at $44.90 and
includes its Juno Platinum service, which is the ISP’s dial-up service
without banner ads.

The basic price is comparable to Comcast cable Internet, which runs $44
($39.95 plus $5 monthly modem rental) per month in Indianapolis, though the
hope by many consumers is the competition will drive prices down in the

Juno’s dial up offering is an added bonus, and something existing Comcast
cable customers don’t have access to — a backup in case the cable network
goes down and a “roaming” account for business travelers.

“A lot of people who have broadband travel have to have a dial up back up,”
a United Online spokesperson said.

The open-access deal, announced nearly three months
, is proof positive the major cable operators are taking steps to
open up their networks, albeit at a slow rate.

AOL Time Warner, forced to open its cable network as part of its merger
agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) last year, has been
adding ISPs to its networks at a more steady and rapid pace.

Cable Internet service prices have been steadily increasing, from an
average price of $43.21 to $44.95 — a 4 percent increase, according to
research firm ARS. Experts predict that the competition provided by
ISPs on the cable operators network will eventually drive down monthly
rates, and make the transition from dial up more palatable.

Mark Kersey, broadband analyst at ARS, said that broadband pricing as
a whole has increased because of a dearth of competition.

“Ninety-one percent of all broadband service providers that have been in
business since the beginning of 2001 have raised their rates since that
time, indicating that industry consolidation that ripped through the
broadband market last year has left broadband consumers with fewer choices
and, ultimately, higher monthly prices,” he said. “We expect that this
trend of increasing prices will hamper the widespread adoption of broadband
services and that the vast majority of users will continue to access the
Internet via dial-up connections for the foreseeable future.”

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