Columbus area small and medium-size businesses can now take advantage of the fastest access to the Internet as Time Warner Communications unveiled its Road Runner Business Services packages at extremely competitive prices. Central Ohio is one of the first markets in the country to have the high-speed online service available for both business and residential customers.
"People have a lot of demands on their time today at the office and at home. Road Runner's speed helps make more time available because you can accomplish much more in less time," said Dave Eastburn, vice president of new product development for Time Warner in Columbus.
One residential Road Runner customer who is looking at the service for business is Jeff Johnson, information technology consultant for Rea & Associates, Inc., CPAs. "Road Runner is a well-priced, fast option for my business clients," he said. "They're looking for speed, economy and reliability -- and Road Runner's speed is astounding. Clients are also looking for the convenience of dealing with one company for both the access technology and the Internet service so you know exactly who to call for questions and service."
Johnson added, "If I have extensive file downloads to do, I do them at home on Road Runner because of the incredible speed."
In announcing its Business Services prices, Time Warner Communications took aim at higher priced, slower-paced phone line connections. Small businesses can connect for as little as $79.95 per month with a 12-month contract. Larger businesses can take advantage of Road Runner's LAN Services package for $499 per month with a 24-month contract.
"Our prices are even more competitive when you consider they include a cable modem and eliminate the need for an Internet service provider," said Eastburn.
Road Runner offers several advantages to business customers, the foremost being access to the Internet with download speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional phone lines, and up to five times faster than a T1 line. Other benefits include increased productivity and efficiency because employees no longer have to wait for slow dial-up connections or lengthy download times. And because Road Runner provides a dedicated connection via Time Warner's fiber optic/coaxial network, there are no frustrating busy signals that often occur during high-use times of day. Road Runner may also eliminate the need for dedicated phone lines.
"In tests, Road Runner downloaded a 17 MB file in a blazing 35 seconds when it was cached on the Road Runner proxy server, while a traditional 28.8 modem connection took 4 hours and 50 minutes to download the same file," said Eastburn. "Even ISDN and T-1 lines, the highest standard currently available via phone lines, pale in comparison to the download speed provided by Road Runner."
Eastburn said Road Runner's proxy server is a key advantage to the service. "A significant number of the web sites our customers request are already cached on our server, which means we can deliver the site to them at lightning speeds," he said.
Time Warner offers multi-tiered Road Runner packages depending on the size and needs of the business customer. With the Road Runner Professional Services package, small business customers receive a connection to a single PC, five personalized e-mail addresses, and 15 MB of server space for web hosting and virtual file transfer protocol (FTP) for $79.95 per month, with additional options available.
The Road Runner LAN Services package includes a Road Runner connection to the customer's local area network proxy server, a dedicated IP address, 10 email boxes and 25 MB of server space for $499 per month with a 24-month contract, with additional options available.
Options include additional PC connections, more server space for web hosting and virtual FTP, additional email addresses and selected news feeds. Installation is additional and will be estimated at no charge.
The announcement was made on Time Warner's web site (www.twcol.com), where it posted its business services and prices, along with an online pre-registration form. Businesses can also inquire through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Road Runner, named after the speedy Warner Bros. character, made its Columbus debut in October, when Time Warner launched the service for residential customers. Since then, more than 2,400 customers have connected to the high-speed online service. Time Warner says it already has more than 260 inquiries from local businesses, nearly 10 percent from its current residential customers who also want the service at their office.
Road Runner is currently available in northwest, west and southeast Columbus, Upper Arlington, Hilliard, Worthington, Dublin, Clintonville and the OSU area, the downtown and Short North areas, German Village and Grandview. It will be available throughout Time Warner's service area by the end of 1998.
Time Warner Communications provides cable television service to nearly 200,000 customers in 38 Central Ohio communications. It is a unit of Time Warner Cable, which serves 12.6 million customers in 37 states. Time Warner Cable is a unit of Time Warner Entertainment, L.P., and Time Warner, Inc., the world's leading media and entertainment company.