Competitor Hopes to Astound Subs


Broadband-service competitor Astound Broadband is bringing tiered cable-modem
service to residential customers in the St. Cloud, Minn., area and the East Bay
cities of Concord and Walnut Creek, Calif.

In addition to its $39.95 monthly 'Astound High-Speed' cable-modem service,
offering up to 1.5 megabits per second downstream, Astound is adding always-on
'Astound Access' with 64 kilobits per second downstream for $17.95; 'Astound
Access Plus' with 128 kbps for $23.95; and Astound High-Speed Plus, offering up
to 3 mbps for $64.95.

Customers opting for the High-Speed and High-Speed Plus products also are
eligible for monthly bundling discounts of up to 15 percent in St. Cloud and up
to 10 percent in the East Bay systems if they buy Astound Cable TV and/or
telephone services.

Astound, formerly called Seren Innovations Inc., is a cable subsidiary of
energy provider Xcel Energy Inc.

It offers cable-modem, television and telephony service in St. Cloud,
Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and, most recently, St. Joseph, Minn. In
California, it has offered service in Concord, and it added Walnut Creek last

'Giving our customers more flexibility and choice is what we're about,' said
Keith Wietecki, CEO and president of Astound Broadband, in a prepared statement.
'These new Internet options give customers the ability to enjoy the benefits of
cable-modem service, but at a price point that meets their