Broadband Price Wars Loom Large


The Wall Street Journal reports that SBC, the nation’s second-largest phone company, plans to start charging $14.95 a month for new customers — making broadband service less expensive than some dial-up plans.

Is this a loss-leader or a portent of things to come?  If SBC is just torturing their competition to create churn, this is not really a newsworthy event.  However, if this is a vanward strategic shift, the industry is in for a wild ride.

There are miles of dark fiber waiting to be lit up.  There are dozens of CDN’s vying for profitability.  There are hundreds of independent ISPs trying to make a living and now, for the first time, margins are so thin there’s just no where to go.

Let’s think about a world with practically free broadband access … or let’s not.  How about the following thought: 1.5MB down and 384k up for almost free gets you excellent web browsing — but you’ll need about 20MB down to have a couple of High Definition (HD) television sets, a couple of Voice Over IP (VoIP) telephone lines and a free-flowing, broadband Internet connection.  How much will we be charged for the bundle? 

Many pundits predicted that this particular technology fight was going to be the fiercest ever … well, the first shot has been fired. Shelly Palmer

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit


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