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12/28/2011 9:12:00 AM
Faster Internet service brings change in fees, Commspeed reports

Sue Tone

Commspeed, a wireless Internet service provider to rural Arizona, is changing its rates from those based on speed of delivery to one based on consumption.

As people look to the Internet for more and more of their entertainment needs, Internet service providers found they needed to beef up their service, said Phil Merrill, Commspeed president. Over the past two years, Commspeed has installed more equipment and has added to its capacity for better broadband performance.

"Instead of how fast, it's how much usage do you need on the Internet," Merrill said. "Instead of tiers based on how fast you want to download, it will be fast for everybody."

In the past, customers paid on a four-level plan based on how fast they wanted to access the Internet. Beginning Jan. 1, customers will be able to choose one of two service plans - both include 4G service, the fastest possible delivery speed - based on how they use the Internet. The least expensive is 10 GB of consumption per month; the second choice is up to 200 GB per month.

To give an idea of what 10 GB of consumption looks like, if customers browse the Internet for 100 hours per month, they would consume about 500 MB. Sending and receiving 400 emails is another 20 MB, 500 minutes Internet phone service adds 1.1 GB, download 100 new songs takes 600 MB, stream three HD movies is 6 GB, and participate in 100 hours of online gaming is 1.5 GB for a total of about 9.9 GB for the month at a cost of $39.95, plus $4.95 equipment insurance fee, for $44.90 per month total.

The true diehard users can upgrade to the second tier, which provides up to 200 GB, for an extra $20 per month. And Commspeed does not count use between midnight and 6 a.m. toward the total consumption.

"Most people are not going to download 100 songs," said Jeff Graham, technical support manager. "The point is, you need to know what you want to use the Internet for. We will help you make an educated decision on what you need."

The company's website soon will include a site where customers can monitor their usage in tonnage - a funny word for something that doesn't weigh anything, Merrill said.

"We're really excited about this, and think people are going to be much happier with the speed. 4G is a big deal," he said.

Customers received a letter detailing the change in late November. Merrill said he got some calls about it, and expects to lose a few customers because of the increased fee.

"The vast majority - after we explained it properly - very few people said, 'I don't want it,'" he said, adding that lower cost providers do exist, usually with a 1-2 year contract and slower speed.

If use goes over the monthly consumption allotment, the customer is charged an extra $2 per GB. If customers unwittingly consume much more than expected, Commspeed will slow the speed down to warn that an approaching cap of $200 is coming up soon.

"We won't let anyone go to something like a $2,000 bill," Merrill said.

Graham said the personal customer service Commspeed offers is another big attraction with subscribers.

"We never have anybody in Pakistan answering our phones," he said.

For more information, visit www.commspeed.net or call 772-1137 or toll-free 1-888-772-1137.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: John Doe

Yet the speeds are still as slow as they've ever been. This after I went out and purchased a new router, because according to them, that was the problem. Their equipment is strong enough to handle demand. Even with this new "everyone is on the same speed" plan, the service is generally way less than advertised.

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