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High-speed Web access: getting the best deals for your personal or business use.

Time is money for business owners like Antuane Barnes. The principal of Some Assembly Required is constantly on the go with his company, which specializes in the assembly and delivery of a variety of products, including home, office, and patio furniture pa´ti`o fur´ni`ture

1. Furniture such as chairs, tables, settees or loungers, suited for use on a patio , i.e. such that will not be damaged by exposure to rain, sun or other outdoor elements.
. But when it comes to the Internet service on his computer, the businessman from Oklahoma City Oklahoma City (1990 pop. 444,719), state capital, and seat of Oklahoma co., central Okla., on the North Canadian River; inc. 1890. The state's largest city, it is an important livestock market, a wholesale, distribution, industrial, and financial center, and a farm  is moving at a snail's pace snail's pace

a very slow speed

"I still have dial-up connection," concedes Barnes. "I use my computer to download business applications, music, and software," but, "it takes so long." While he knows having high-speed Internet access would be beneficial to his business, he says the price is just too high to pay. "I have to allocate those funds elsewhere. When the rates are lower, I'll reconsider," he says.

Barnes is not alone. Some 70% of American households don't have high-speed Internet access. Presently, the high-speed Internet industry is controlled by what Mark Cooper, director of research for Consumer Federation of America The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, education and advocacy.

According to CFA's website, its members are approximately 300 consumer-oriented non-profits, which themselves have
, calls a "cozy duopoly Duopoly

A situation in which two companies own all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service.

This is very similar to a monopoly, where only one company dominates the market.
" of the cable and telephone companies. The service through these companies is known as broadband, which, for about $45 per month, includes a cable modem and service through a cable carrier. Or you can opt for DSL DSL
 in full Digital Subscriber Line

Broadband digital communications connection that operates over standard copper telephone wires. It requires a DSL modem, which splits transmissions into two frequency bands: the lower frequencies for voice (ordinary
, which is provided through a local telephone carrier for about $30 per month. Although DSL is less expensive, the cable modem moves fester fester /fes·ter/ (fes´ter) to suppurate superficially.

1. To ulcerate.

2. To form pus; putrefy.

An ulcer.
. Satellite companies offer a truly wireless service for about $99 per month.

"Only 50% of households earning above $75,000 have high-speed Internet. There has not been enough competition to drive down prices. It remains to be seen whether price competition will break out," says Cooper. Consumers can help foster competition in this industry by researching all of the products and services offered, comparing the rates of each company, and even negotiating the price that you will spend. (www.broadband provides information on residential and small business broadband connections. ( works with 20 companies to provide discounts on high-speed Web access and other services.

To lower costs ask about "bundles." Telephone, cable, and even some cell phone companies offer packages that will lower your rates if they have all of your business. Cellular phone companies now offer a high-speed network, which the FCC (1) (Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC, The U.S. government agency that regulates interstate and international communications including wire, cable, radio, TV and satellite. The FCC was created under the U.S.  anticipates will foster more competition and lower prices.

Inquire about whether VoIP, which eliminates a phone line (and a phone bill); Wi-Fi, which allows you to work in another room or have multiple computers; and Wi-Max, which is a wireless connection within 30 miles of your computer. A viable choice for a small business, Wi-Fi requires a one-time fee of $100. Rebates also are available.

For additional information on highspeed Web access, contact the FCC at (888) CALL-FCC or via its Website at consumer facts/highspeedinternet.html.
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Title Annotation:Buying Power
Author:Royal, Leslie Guess
Publication:Black Enterprise
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Previous Article:Travel plans gone awry; how to prepare for emergencies.
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