ShenTel Trots Out ‘Flex’ Prepaid Internet Service

Jumping on a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular with U.S. ISPs, Shenandoah Telecommunications Co. has rolled out a pay-as-you-go Internet service.

That service, called Flex, offers 30 days of service for $19.99. Per the FAQ, vustomers are required to buy a $99 starter kit that comes with a wireless  modem, a month of service and a key card. Customers can refill by bringing the Flex Key Card to a ShenTel store or buy more access online (customers in the latter group must provide their modem’s MAC ID).

To keep the prepaid offering from cannibalizing its post-paid base, ShenTel limits Flex to  3 Mbps downstream. Customers who want or need more speed will need to take a post-paid service plan.

“Having in-home Internet access has become essential to everyday life. Flex is a great product for folks looking for an entry-level Internet service, without the burden of a contract and expensive monthly payments,” ShenTel vice president Tom Whitaker said, according to CED.

ShenTel joins other ISPs that are testing or have launched prepaid Internet offerings that are generally targeted to “unbanked” consumers, those with bad credit and others who do not otherwise qualify for a post-paid product.

Comcast started to test a prepaid Internet product in the fall of 2012, and has followed with a prepaid TV product in select areas that has recently begun to support HD as a baseline (the original prepaid TV product was standard-def only). Frontier Communications rolled out a prepaid Internet product more than a year ago.