ISP market begins to follow Xtra down

The ISP market has begun to readjust around Xtra's new $24.95 monthly benchmark, with recent entrant Quicksilver Internet going cheaper still and Ihug preparing its own new pricing.

The ISP market has begun to readjust around Xtra's new $24.95 monthly benchmark, with recent entrant Quicksilver Internet going cheaper still and Ihug preparing its own new pricing.

Quicksilver has now offering a "no catches" rate of $19.95 (including GST) a month for unlimited access, down on the $24.95 rate with which it debuted in January.

Quicksilver does not require either a set-up fee or a long-term contract for the account, and charges only $10 for the first month. Its Neon account includes free helpdesk support, unlimited access with no maximum connect times and 10MB of static Web hosting. Quicksilver says it is also offering 10% discounts on the toll accounts of customers who sign up for both its Internet access and distance calling services.

Meanwhile, Ihug, the country's second largest paid ISP behind Xtra, is drawing up new pricing for release within days. Director Tim Wood describes the new deals as "creative".

No further details are available yet, but Ihug has a range of benefits it could offer customers apart from a straight price cut - including deals on distance calls and rentals from Video Ezy, in which it has a majority stake.

Even those ISPs who don't pursue the consumer market are readjusting downwards. Hosting and domain name specialist 2Day Internet offers dial-up access to around 1000 customers, and has dropped its hourly rate from $1.95 to 95 cents.

Managing director Peter Mott says the company has recently had to purchase additional international bandwidth to meet the outbound needs of its hosting customers, and had cut the cost of its dial-up service because it had a consequent surplus of inbound capacity. The new rate applies only in Auckland.

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