July 19, 2001
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AOL, the market leader with over 20 million subscribers, announced a rate hike by $1.95 at the beginning of the year to begin in July. Increased prices mean hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for parent company AOL Time Warner Inc. MSN, the second largest U.S. Internet access service provider with more than 4 ½ million customers is guaranteeing their rate only until January 2003 in an apparent attempt to get AOL subscribers to switch.
America Online’s unlimited Internet service costs 140% more than rival ISP Copper.Net. “That is truly a remarkable difference,” said Michael Hawk, President of Copper.Net. “Unfortunately, the Copper.Net offering is still a little known secret.”
Copper.Net, a 4-year-old company based in Mount Vernon, Ohio, currently provides service to Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, Akron and Lancaster. They plan to expand to nationwide presence by the end of summer and still maintain their extremely low pricing. Currently subscribers can pay $9.95 per month or sign up for a one-year $99 contract that comes out to $8.25 a month.
Compared to average dial-up costs like America Online (AOL) at $23.90 a month for unlimited access and Microsoft Corp.’s MSN at $21.95, Copper.Net, a 56K dial-up unlimited Internet access service saves subscribers a lot of money.
“I think AOL and other large providers gouge their customers,” said Hawk. “Input costs are cheap here (in Columbus), but the service is still expensive and going up!” Copper.Net started with low pricing and remains low.
Copper.Net’s secret to success is to keep pricing low with 18 employees, conservative spending, and mostly word-of-mouth advertising. Old-fashioned banking and additional revenue generated through Web hosting services with Web site design and development through parent company ECR Internet Services Inc., help to replace venture capital dollars.
“You can’t beat Copper.Net’s pricing,” said Diana Barnum, 3-year Hilliard resident subscriber. “I take my laptop to clients' locations and hook up instantly with Copper.Net.”
“Fast, reliable, unlimited, cheap. It’s a formula that works for us,” said Hawk.