Just a connection, please....
Several European and a few scattered US providers have taken to offering a straight high-speed connection without such lavish luxuries as e-mail and newsgroup access. Is the "bare-bones" model something that could appeal to American consumers? In this age of feature one-upmanship, probably not (yet). There's an increasing push here in the states for providers to differentiate themselves by offering flashier portals
, added security features
, spyware detection software
or anti-spam solutions
But how about offering a simple data pipe? The Register
has an interesting article about two new ADSL offerings in Europe. One such minimalist offer is from UK DSL provider KPN. For 21.95 ($28) Euro per month you get bare-bones broadband(384/128)without extras like webspace, newsgroups and e-mail. The article also touches on metered service by a provider named Zon, taking DSL in the UK back toward the dial-up "pay-per-hour" model.
Such metered, "bill by the byte", and minimalist offers are less frequent here in the States, as companies don't like having to quantify how much these added services actually cost. These services more often than not are designed to give the impression of value and competitive differentiation, instead of actual measurable worth. A spyware detection service that will identify, but not remove spyware anyone
One example from just this morning: Roadrunner announced
they'd be offering free anti-virus software to users as an added bonus. However as one astute reader
points out, this same "deal" is available to non-subscribers as part of a broader promotion. Many of these added services cost little to nothing to provide, and are often simple marketing relationships.
In Australia, attempts at metered service by DSL provider Telstra resulted some serious headaches
after the software tracking tool they utilized malfunctioned and began billing customers incorrectly.