As 5G Home Internet Explodes, This Cable Provider Just Slashed Broadband Prices to Compete





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The impact of the 5G home internet and satellite-based broadband services is real, with these alternative options bringing real competition into new areas. As a result, the cable industry is getting more aggressive, as illustrated by Cable One’s latest promotional offer.

The company, which serves 1.1 million customers in 24 states under the Sparklight brand, introduced a Connect Internet 100 promotion for $25 a month for a year. The plan offers 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds, and has no data cap, which is a rarity for the company. After the promo, which can “expire at anytime,” customers will pay the regular $50 a month.

“This offer was designed to provide a low cost, high value option to price conscious customers who may be struggling in the current economy,” Trish Niemann, Sparklight’s Vice President of Communications Strategy told Cord Cutters News. “Broadband is critical and we want to ensure customers in our markets remain connected to what matters most – whether that is work, school, loved ones or entertainment.”

Typically, Cable One’s tiers don’t bundle an unlimited data option. The company’s Internet 300, 400 and 600 Mbps plans come with a set number of gigabytes of monthly data. For example, the 300 Mbps down plan comes with 700GB of monthly data, but every time you exceed the monthly limit, you’ll be charged $10 for an extra 100 GB of data. At most, you can buy 400 GB of extra data per month.

The aggressive promotion reflects the more competitive environment for internet services, where players like T-Mobile, Verizon and, increasingly, AT&T are starting to offer 5G home internet to more areas. T-Mobile and Verizon both boasts more 5G broadband customers than Cable One’s subscriber base. With that competitive comes a willingness to lower prices and increase benefits. The rapid expansion in 5G home internet interest and adoption calls into question the future of cable. Cable One’s promo shows that cable companies aren’t throwing in the towel yet.  

Analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets first spotted the promo, according to LightReading, and said that Cable One’s limited-time bundle is “a good match against FWA competition.”

The cable TV industry has taken a hit as cord cutting has surged in popularity. In May, cable TV company WOW! said it would replace its cable TV series with YouTube TV. Frontier and Cable One have made similar decisions, focusing on broadband instead.

“We will be transitioning all Sparklight markets to Sparklight TV on a market-by-market basis, at which time we will no longer be offering traditional linear cable TV service which requires a cable box. Existing Cable TV customers will be contacted directly when Sparklight TV service is available for their home.” Sparklight said in a statement on their website in February.

Earlier this month, Spectrum, the second largest live TV provider, said it was willing to walk away from Disney and ESPN if Disney was unwilling to agree to a new distribution model for cable TV. Spectrum would instead sell bundles of streaming services to its internet customers. On Monday, Spectrum and Disney struck a deal to give Disney+ to Spectrum subscribers for free, but a few Disney networks were dropped. The agreement ended a 12-day blackout and returned ESPN and FX to viewers.

Optimum’s Altice USA, the fourth-largest cable TV company, is looking into more options for its TV service, including outsourcing it in new markets.

As advances continue in 5G home internet, it’s likely we’ll see more cable companies swap over to streaming services. Cable One, and others like it, may continue to champion cable TV as we once knew it, but it’s uncertain how long that will be sustainable.

Corrected: A previous version of the story misspelled Altice.

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