Shentel to offer new high speed Internet

EDINBURG – Shenandoah Telecommunications Company will be offering new high-speed Internet options and telephone bundles, the company has announced.

After Oct. 1, Shentel customers will be able to purchase standard DSL options such as 5Mbps and 10Mbps or new Internet speeds of 15Mbps, 25Mpbs, 50Mpbs and 100Mpbs without having to also pay for the company’s telephone services.

Ed McKay, Shentel’s senior vice president of engineering and network planning, said Thursday, “I think customers have been asking for these higher speeds for things like streaming video service to their house, and also in cases where they have multiple users.”

McKay added, “I think this will be a good option for those customers, and for those services.”

According to USwitch.com – a website that customers can use to compare utility rates – the Mbps (or megabit per second) of Internet speed refers to how quickly it should take for a given file to download.

Based on USwitch’s explanation, a 1.6-megabyte picture of Skyline Drive should download in less than half-of-a-second at speeds of 100Mbps.

The new Internet speeds represent a $1.5 million investment for the Edinburg-based company, and will be exclusively offered to residents in and near towns along the Interstate 81 and U.S. 11 corridor such as Strasburg and Woodstock, as well as customers in Bayse.

“That’s where we have our cable system currently,” McKay said. “We’re using the cable system to offer these higher speeds, and … we have more customers per mile than we do in the areas where our cable system is not currently deployed.”

In addition to the new high speed options, Shentel has also upgraded its DSL network to more rural areas of Shenandoah County outside of its cable services.

“About 90 percent of our customers can get 10Mbps coverage with the upgrades we’ve done,” McKay said, noting that Shentel’s customer base in Shenandoah County is more than 20,000 houses and business.

Along with the new options, McKay noted that customers will also be able to separately purchase their basic Internet speeds with a $10 increase to the monthly rates.

Customers who choose to keep their traditional cable, television and Internet bundles will see no changes to their monthly bills.

The rates for Shentel’s new Internet speeds are:

• 15 Mbps: $79.99
• 25 Mbps: $99.95
• 50 Mbps: $139.95
• 100 Mbps: $199.95

McKay noted, “… if you also have telephone service from Shentel and cable service from Shentel, you’ll be eligible for a $30 per month discount off of that $79.99 price.”

Based on Shentel’s $68 price tag for the advanced cable package – which includes premium channels like HBO and Showtime – and its premium phone service of $17, customers could be looking at monthly bundled rates of $135 and higher.

“We’re just excited to be able to offer these additional speeds to our customers, and to give them an option where they don’t have to purchase phone service in order to get Internet service,” McKay said.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com