Sonic.net Inc., a Northern California-based broadband provider, is offering free gigabit-level connection services to local schools if a certain percentage of their surrounding communities opt for Sonic’s gigabit service. The company is currently extending its gigabit offerings to parts of Brentwood, Sebastopol, Novato, and the Sunset district of San Francisco. “If we’re building out gigabit fiber in a neighborhood and a certain number subscribe, we’ll light up the schools for free,” explained Tara Sharp, Sonic’s head of marketing. “It’s a big issue for the schools — a lot of them can’t support students using the Internet at all. This will have a magnificent impact on those public schools.”

Sonic partners with Adtran Inc. for its FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) infrastructure, and charges $40 per month for unlimited gigabit connections (the national average hovers around $70). The company, aware that low prices and customer loyalty are key to differentiating itself from competitors, is also organizing a grass-roots campaign in some of the cities it services to publicize its lower prices, using volunteers to distribute flyers and promote the company.

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