MMU cuts Internet rates

Thursday, February 3, 2005
The Marshall Municipal Utilties Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to cut the rates paid by MMU's high speed Internet customers. (Image courtesy

As competition in the high-speed Internet market continues to grow, consumers are benefiting from dropping rates.

Marshall Municipal Utilities Internet customers will see a drop in their rates following a vote by the MMU Board of Public Works Wednesday. In accepting a recommendation from the utilities' management, the board reduced rates for all levels of Internet service.

Under the new rate structure, the slowest speed available through MMU is 250 kilobytes, which carries a monthly fee of $30. This was the rate formerly charged for 125k services. For 500k service, MMU customers will now pay $70, down from $105. Customers who want 750k service, the fastest MMU offers, will pay $110. The former charge was $140.

MMU Administrative Services Director Ken Gieringer said the adjustments will bring MMU's rates in line with the DSL services offered locally by Socket and SBC.

Gieringer said plans are being developed to improve MMU's fiber optic system to further enhance the services the utilities can offer Marshall residents. He said right now one of the major fixed costs is MMU's connection to the outside world through SBC.

"We hope to change that and significantly lower our cost and increase capacity," Gieringer said.

By expanding the fiber optic loop and bringing access to each house, MMU would be able to dramatically improve connection speeds while reducing customers' costs. Gieringer explained that the city of Provo, Utah, has so-called "fiber to the house" service and measures its connection speeds in megabytes. Provo's "slowest" connection speed is 1.5 megabytes, twice as fast as Marshall's fastest speeds, and is available for $40 per month.

Gieringer said creating a fiber to the house system in Marshall could take as long as two years to complete, but would allow for a number of new services, including the cable television proposal which will appear on the April ballot. In addition to cable TV and Internet, the system would open up options for automated meter reading, home health alert services and burglar alarm systems.

"It's something we need to do whether the vote passes or not," he said. "There are hundreds of communities like us looking at the same thing."

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