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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

January 4, 2007 at 4:59 PM

DSL: less than $20?

Routinely, I read articles that say the price of Internet access is falling rapidly. The most recent example is in a column today by Ben Frankel, who writes about WiMax for FierceWiFi, an online trade journal.

He wrote that WiMax will have a hard time being successful because of “falling prices of basic DSL services, which in many developed markets have already fallen to below $20 a month.”

20 bucks? Where? Show me? Does anyone have DSL in Seattle for $20?

What are we, gulp, undeveloped?

It’s possible to get to $20 a month if you don’t include taxes, rental fees and surcharges, but is that what we are talking about here?

For the full meal deal, $20 is hardly the case. In fact, check out Qwest’s Web site, which is likely the largest DSL in Seattle proper.

— Qwest Choice DSL Premier with MSN Premium is $46.99 a month for a year, and $59.99 a month thereafter (BEFORE tax and other surcharges).

— A slower service, called Qwest Choice DSL Deluxe with MSN Premium, is $36.99 a month for a year before increasing to $49.99 a month before taxes.

Those prices also don’t include a wireless modem, which can be rented for $8 a month, or purchased for $100.

Qwest does have a number of cheaper options here, but it doesn’t come with an Internet service provider, which you would have to pay for separately. It also doesn’t include the modem fee or taxes.

A quick check with EarthLink DSL provides cheaper plans, but still they list $40 a month after the three-month introductory rate.

Wait, perhaps there’s hope.

In order to get the FCC’s approval to buy BellSouth, AT&T agreed to offer DSL service for just $19.95 a month, or less than half the $44.95 that AT&T now charges.

Will it spur the competition to drop rates in Seattle?

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