Making good on a promise made late last year, SBC Communications Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. have launched a co-branded broadband Internet access service.
The CO-branded DSL access service, which is available to customers in SBC's 13-state local service region, offers a personalized homepage, a customizable browser, e-mail, parental controls and spam filters.
Hoping to attract narrowband Internet access subscribers who have been scared away by broadband's price tag, the duo is offering various tiered pricing packages based on speed. SBC Yahoo! DSL Basic offers speeds of up to 384 Kbps downstream and up to 128 Kbps upstream for $42.95 a month. New customers will receive an introductory price of $29.95 for the first six months, a free DSL modem and free activation with a one-year subscription agreement.
SBC Yahoo! DSL Standard Plus3 offers speeds of up to 384 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps downstream and up to 128 Kbps upstream for $49.95 a month. New subscribers to this plan also will receive the six-month promotion price of $29.95 a month.
SBC Yahoo! DSL Deluxe provides downstream speeds up to 768 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 256 Kbps for $59.95 a month. Since the speeds are much faster than the other two plans, new customers will be offered an introductory price of $39.95 a month for the first six months. These subscribers also will be eligible for a free DSL modem and free activation if they sign a one-year contract.
Tiered pricing is one of the hot topics in the telecom industry. At the NCTA convention in May, several cablers discussed the pros and cons of charging customers more for higher speed or more bandwidth usage and reducing speeds for those unwilling to pay higher prices. Covad Communications recently introduced a reduced-rate, no-frills DSL offering to its customers. AT&T Broadband also recently launched a faster tier of cable Internet service for $80 a month. The company has plans to conduct trials with a lower-speed version this year.
In June, SBC and Yahoo! unveiled SBC Yahoo! Dial, which gives subscribers access to Yahoo! content, including finance, music, online calendaring, e-mail and customized news tracking. Unlike the broadband service, the narrowband service is available nation wide.
Two months earlier, SBC and Yahoo! expanded their existing partnership to bring broadband services to small businesses. SBC has enlisted Yahoo! as its dial-up and broadband ally in an attempt to put itself on a level playing field with the likes of AOL Time Warner Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Both companies own a great deal of online content and have been taking steps to be competitive in the broadband service arena.
Yahoo! will receive monthly per-subscriber payments from SBC, while SBC will receive a share of Yahoo!'s non-subscriber revenue on advertising, e-commerce and broadband-enabled features and services on the portal.