Rate Hike Hits Optimum Online Subscribers

By Ryan Naraine

Cablevision Systems has upped the rates for its Optimum Online high-speed Internet access service, a move that affects more than 400,000 subscribers.

Cable subscribers who purchase the Family Cable basic service now have to cough up $39.95 per month for Internet access, up from $29.95 a month.

Overall, the Optimum Online ISP service, which is sometimes bundled with the Bethpage, NY-based Cablevision’s cable TV subscriptions, has increased by between $5 and $10 per month.

For subscribers opting for premium services, which include programming from HBO and Showtime, the $5 hike brings the price to $34.95 since Jan. 1 when the new prices took effect. Subscribers without contracts were also subjected to the new rates.

Gemma Toner, senior VP of high-speed data products for Cablevision, told atNewYork the monthly rate hike was the first since the company launched its high-speed Internet access five years ago. Even after the rate increase, Toner said the Optimum Online was the cheapest in the New York metropolitan area.

Optimum Online, which competes head-to-head with AOL Time Warner’s Road Runner and Verizon DSL services in the New York market.

By comparison, Road Runner charges $44.95 per month for unlimited high-speed Internet connectivity. This fee is in addition to Time Warner’s regular monthly cable subscription. Verizon DSL charges between $49.95 and $79.95 for its high-speed Internet access packages.

Toner said the new prices would also affect existing subscribers and would take effect upon expiration of current contracts throughout the year.

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