Verizon Communications' Verizon Online announced last week that it has dropped the cost of entry for new digital-subscriber-line customers in 25 states and the District of Columbia.
The company no longer charges a modem or connection fee to anyone who self-installs.
According to spokesman Jim Burkhardt, 80 percent of new customers request the self-installation kit. With the help of an enclosed installation guide plus "24 by 7" technical support, most people can have the modem set up within a couple of hours, he added.
Verizon also dropped the monthly cost of DSL to $39.95 for its entry-level residential service, which includes a 768-kilobit-per-second downstream/128-kbps upstream line and the BellAtlantic.net or GTE.net Internet-service provider. Verizon plans to merge the ISPs into Verizon.net.
Last week, the company launched an aggressive marketing campaign to promote its lower-cost service. Verizon sent e-mail messages to existing customers alerting them of the price drops in markets that hadn't previously cut the cost to $39.95. In addition, the company will use radio, television, print ads and direct mail to target new customers, especially in urban markets where DSL is widely available.
Although no time limit has been set for the promotion, Burkhardt said he doesn't expect prices to go back up based on today's competitive market conditions, adding, "$39.95 is pretty much the de facto now for high-speed."