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Pre-paid phones, pre-paid credit cards and now pre-paid internet access with router!


There are pre-paid credit cards. There are pre-paid phones. So it was probably just a matter of time before pre-paid internet service joined the pay-as-you-go club.

Cox Communications is introducing a pre-paid internet service called StraightUp Internet that could change the landscape of internet providers.

For a flat rate of $50 per month, customers will receive both a Wi-Fi router and high-speed Internet, with the ability to drop or refill the service at any time. In an effort to attract customers, Cox is also offering a three-year price guarantee, wherein the flat $50 per month rate will not be subject to change.

The pre-paid service is relatively new territory for the internet and cable provider, with the intention of enticing customers who may not qualify for post-paid service.

Cox’s pre-paid internet package sort of soft-launched the service last year, but has just started to promote the pay-as-you-go option with Facebook advertisements starting to pop up on the social media platform this week.

StraightUp Internet qualifies as “broadband” as far as the FCC is concerned, with internet speeds of 25 Mbit/s and one terabyte of data available each month. However, as of now, Cox is not enforcing any penalties or policies should a customer exceed the monthly data limit.

The company’s traditional post-paid services are nearly identical to the pre-paid package, with one terabyte of data available for post-paid residential broadband products, but there are more upgrade options for the post-paid packages.

While Cox -- the nation's third-largest cable television provider -- doesn’t have any immediate plans to offer similar pre-paid cable TV services, a spokesman for the company did keep the option on the table, saying "we are always evaluating consumer buying preferences and make adjustments to future plans based on feedback" in a recent statement.

As for competition, telephone company Verizon offers a pre-paid, high-speed Fios internet and TV services, with the internet package, with speeds of 25 Mbit/s. The Verizon pre-paid internet service similarly includes a router, but unlike Cox, customers must return the router once they stop using the pre-paid services.


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