Craig residents have a variety of DSL choices available now | CraigDailyPress.com
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Craig residents have a variety of DSL choices available now

Jeremy Browning

With NC Telecom and Amigo.Net currently offering DSL Internet service in Craig, and Qwest planning to do so this summer, residents now have several alternatives to dialup.

But high startup costs and bigger bills for high-speed alternatives may prove that dialup is not dead in Northwest Colorado.

David Bray, owner of Quik Internet of Rangely, said that despite the availability of DSL in Rangely, his company has only seen about a 10 percent loss of customers to the ultra-fast alternatives.



“It wasn’t a mass exodus, like expected,” Bray said.

He said he anticipates much of the same in Craig, where his company also operates.



“Everyone would love to have higher speed (Internet access),” Bray said. “But most people are not willing to spend more than $20 to $25 a month on it.”

The current price point where the market has settled is around $20 a month for dialup Internet access, Bray said. No such price exists in the DSL market.

Bray said he would love to offer DSL to his customers. But, he added, “offering DSL at this time is not a viable business option. I couldn’t recover more than 50 percent of my cost on a per customer basis.”

Bray claims that DSL providers are currently losing money but are focussed, instead, on the future value of customers. He said that explains the wide fluctuations in DSL pricing.

NC Telecom has drastically reduced prices since first publishing rates for its expected launch last December.

“We found ways within our interconnection agreement (with Qwest) to reduce our cost, so we’re passing our savings along,” said NC Telecom’s Rick Hemming.

NC Telecom’s cheapest residential DSL plan starts at $39.99 a month for 256 kilobits per second downstream bandwidth, according to pricing information on the company’s Web site at http://www.nctelecom.com.

The startup cost, however, includes purchasing a DSL modem available from NC Telecom for $194.95, and paying a $25 activation fee.

Amigo.Net’s Web site, http://www.amigo.net, advertises a similar transfer rate of 320 kilobits per second for $250 a month with a $700 activation fee that includes a DSL modem loaned from the company.

Both companies offer a range of DSL plans with data transfer rates up to 1,500 kilobits per second, about 30 times faster than dialup at its

best.

Hemming said that while his company is reluctant to put out numbers, DSL subscriptions, which have been available since May 15, are ahead of projections.

Hemming questioned Qwest’s recent announcement to offer DSL in the Craig area.

“I don’t think Qwest would be offering (DSL) in Craig without competition,” Hemming said. “They were asked very specifically, and they said they didn’t plan to offer DSL.”

Hemming welcomes the competition. “Competition is good,” he said. “It may change the way Qwest does things.”

Hemming noted that the two companies’ DSL packages are significantly different, both in price and bandwidth options.

Although both Qwest and NC Telecom offer separate DSL service, customers who sign contracts with NC Telecom will be dependent on Qwest to connect them to NC Telecom’s network.

Hemming said because Qwest is training its employees in the new setup procedures, the setup currently takes about two weeks.

Once the employees are trained, it should take about 5 to 7 business days. “Everyone is new to this,” Hemming said.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.


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