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United Online cable gets off the ground

Roll-out over Comcast network

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

United Online Inc, the company behind Juno and NetZero ISPs, last week went live with its first cable broadband service. The company will start offering Juno Broadband to consumers passed by Comcast Cable Communications Inc's network in Indianapolis and Nashville.

The Westlake Village, California-based company said the first two cities will act as templates for rollouts in other Comcast franchises over the coming months, although the timing and location of such launches have not yet been disclosed.

The service will cost $39.95 per month, with an activation fee of $49.95. If a user does not have a cable modem and does not wish to buy one, they can rent one for $5 per month. In addition, a backup dialup service can be bought for an extra $5.

The pricing means United Online is hardly at the budget end of the market, despite its roots as an ad-supported free dialup service. However, since it is basically just wholesaling a service provided almost entirely by Comcast, it probably could not afford to sacrifice its margins by going too cheap.

When the partnership was announced in February, United CEO Mark Goldston said the company wanted to launch broadband services "if and only if we could find a partner to enable us to... provide a retail price point that give the same gross profit per user as we get on our $9.95 dialup service, and in Comcast we found such a partner."

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