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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 10:25 GMT
Fast track for internet users in Britain?
British Telecom has revealed large price cuts for high-speed or broadband internet access.

Broadband internet services enable users to download audio and video much faster than a normal phone line.

At present, high-speed internet services in Britain cost around £40 a month, which is seen by experts as being more than most consumers are willing to pay.

It has meant that Britain has lagged behind other developed countries in the take-up of broadband.

What effect will cheaper broadband have on e-commerce and internet use in Britain? Will the reductions in costs persuade you to change to broadband?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I have had Broadband ADSL since the launch and could NEVER go back.

Kevin Laslett, UK
I have had Broadband ADSL since the launch and could NEVER go back to using a dialup service again, It's a different world and makes the Internet a real pleasure to use. Although I welcome a price cut on my existing service I think It's well worth the £39.99 Per Month. Well done BT
Kevin Laslett, UK

It's about time that the USO (universal service obligation - that which says that BT must provide a standard phone line to anyone, anywhere in the UK, who requests one) be made to apply to any services offered over a standard landline (subject to technical limitations). Whilst BT carry on cherry-picking, there will always be huge parts of the population who cannot benefit from these services. If BT want to continue to benefit from monopoly access to the local-loop (built with public money!), the USO should apply. If not, take the local-loop away from them, granting them access only on the same terms as everyone else. Where I live in Leeds, just a 10 minute walk from the town centre, ADSL is not available on the local exchange - and BT refuse to make it available.
Dave R, UK

I think the overwhelming issue here is not cost, but availability. I live in central London, but have no provider who can offer me broadband. Even at current prices I would subscribe immediately...if I could!
Giles Forrest, London, UK

I pay £25 per month for Telewest Blueyonder Broadband and the level of customer service that is included in that price, along with the 24/7 connection, is absolutely brilliant. To match this level of service BT is going to have to significantly raise its game, and I'm not sure it is customer focused enough to be able to do this
Steve Goldburn, UK

Since I've installed an ADSL system it's one of those "you can never go back" situations. As a photographer it is a fabulous tool - I can now deal with a client no matter where they are and send large digital files easily and quickly. It's both a money and time saver, ergo - more productivity. Here in Canada I went for an offer from our local telephone monopoly and received a 100% rebate on the modem. I pay £15.30 per month, unlimited.
Derek L, Canada

It is not only developed countries which Britain lags behind!

James Turner, Chile
Your introduction says that Britain has lagged behind other developed countries in this area. I would suggest that it is not only developed countries which Britain lags behind! Here in Chile, ADSL, cable and wireless networking are becoming widely available from a number of companies, with ADSL prices starting at the equivalent of 30 GBP per month. Is UK market regulation really so ineffective that a single company can hold a key part of national infrastructure behind the level of progress in the developing World? Sadly, areas such as public transport are in an even worse state. I don't think I shall be in a great hurry to return!
James Turner, Chile

I would love to have ADSL, at present I live less than 1km from my local exchange, but BT have not enabled it (nor have any plans to do so, the last time I asked). So Instead I am paying approx £45 a month for ISDN. Cable is also available in my area from NTL, but they refused to run the cable from the main road to my house even after I offered to pay for the work! Bringing the price down will no doubt encourage uptake, but I know at least a dozen people who want ADSL for whom price is not an issue, rather it is availability.
Onkar Jagpal, UK

BT seem have to a history of resisting change until they start losing customers.

Ali, UK
Now, if BT had made this announcement last week, I know of at least one person who would still be a customer of theirs. BT seem have to a history of resisting change until they start losing customers in large numbers.
Ali, UK

What I'd like to know, is why it has taken BT so long to come to this announcement. It seems that any change that is wanted by the consumer or their competitors is vigorously opposed by them. Maybe it's time the senior management where given a good shake up. Then the general public might just get the service they want.
Bob, U.K.

For the mass take-up that the government claims to want, I estimate that the price to the consumer needs to be in the £20 to £25 per month range, so the reductions are welcome, however, access is distinctly patchy and a lot of investment is needed to make it available to all those who will want it.
Brian W, U K

Broadband or ADSL, is not available where I live, nor is cable. I live in a large seaside town so even if it is free of charge I am not able to use it. The cable companies nor BT can give me any idea when I can expect to receive BroadBand (one suggestion was sometime 2004). So I'm limited to the old PSTN
Ian Hannam, England

As a Brit living in the USA I am amazed at the lack of broadband in the UK. I find cable is the best and most reliable. Some phone companies have had very poor service due to poor infrastructure and what appeared to me as lack of knowledge by their staff. The PC is ready for streaming technologies. Britain needs the delivery infrastructure to make it happen.
Paul, USA

Cheap broadband will appease my mother

Marc Piano, UK
Great! I'm all for Cheaper Broadband access. But Iżm still taking it with a pinch of salt.£14.75 is the cost to the ISP not the consumer, what the ISP's are going to charge may still be £20 plus. Also at the moment the contention ratio is at 50:1.More users may mean a more congested B/band service which will defy the object of having a fast connection. Personally I wouldnżt pay more than £15 p/m for B/Band
Tes, UK

Without a doubt. As a full-time lower-sixth student and part-time worker I can't afford to pay £40 a month and subsequently resort to dial-up access. However, cheap broadband will not only allow me to download faster but it will also appease my mother, for it will free up the phone line for her to use simultaneously whilst I'm online. She likes the idea but refuses to let me pay £150 for the installation and £40 per month. I would very much welcome cheaper broadband and use it immediately.
Marc Piano, UK

The price cuts announced by BT are of course welcome, but let's hope that to cope with the new broadband users, BT has got a strategy to upgrade its network to cope. Otherwise we will see a lot of very disappointed surfers.
Alan Cousins, Brighton, UK

The government should be forcing BT to provide broadband to more towns

George, Weston-super-Mare, UK
Lowering the price is a good thing, but it still doesn't help people connected to the 5000 exchanges BT hasn't enabled.
The government should be forcing BT to provide broadband to more towns, and should also be contributing towards it themselves.
George, Weston-super-Mare, UK

Yes, cheaper access will encourage use. But so too will availability. I have no access to broadband unless I subscribe to ISDN which is far too expensive for my use. No company is prepared to give a date when they will have broadband available in my area, and no, I don't live in the back of beyond, but in Redhill in Surrey.
Geoff, UK

I would gladly pay £40 a month (which is cheaper than an ISDN line with a no call charges ISP) just to get ADSL

Jon, UK
It is not the price which is stopping me from getting broadband, it is the availability. Currently I am within range of an enabled exchange (2 km away) but I am connected to an exchange 4 km away which isn't ADSL enabled. Cable isn't an option as there are no cable TV services in my area and satellite broadband is stupidly expensive. I would gladly pay £40 a month (which is cheaper than an ISDN line with a no call charges ISP) just to get ADSL. Come on BT, we're waiting if you can be bothered.
Jon, UK

I'm a high use user and for me ADSL has made a huge difference. The price I pay has tumbled by 300% and yet I get a much faster and unlimited service. These price reductions will only make the case for ADSL much more compelling for other users and that's a good thing.
Andy London, UK

NTL has had broadband at £20 a month ever since the start and they are having just as many problems.
I think it's a matter of education. Most people have just got used to the idea of a 56k modem and learned to say it. To have to learn something new is just too much for all but hard core techies. I'm taking my mother as an example.
Giles Hogben, Italy

There are two issues that need to be addressed:
1/ The cost of broadband, which hopefully is being dealt with today, as BT wholesale are reducing prices.
2/ Rollout: BT stopped enabling exchanges in September last year. I live in a reasonable sized town (10,000 people), and have no hope of getting ADSL even though there are lots of people interested.
Steve Boxley, England

I had broadband put in last year and only pay £25 a month. It is well worth that kind of money for a 24/7 connection with fast download speeds. My internet use has increased four fold now that I don't have to hear the dreaded modem screech!
Simon, Edinburgh, Scotland

Broadband is available from NTL at £24.99 per month including rental of the cable modem. Great service - brilliant value. Just needs to rolled out everywhere else.
Joe Edwards, UK

This good news from BT but ADSL is still a lottery

Taras Dhedhi, UK
This good news from BT but ADSL is still a lottery. You can live in the same town and one exchange may not be enabled for ADSL yet the other side of town is. Same with STD codes. Some STD code have say five of the seven exchanges enabled. BT must sort this shambles of a lottery OUT!
Taras Dhedhi, UK

The internet will shortly, if not already, become an essential part of all our lives. I have been using it for a couple of years through a permanent connection at work. I have only recently become connected at home, through a standard land line modem. Dial-up faults and load up times are intolerable. Affordable broadband can not come quickly enough!
Garry, UK

Working from home, I need broadband access for my job, and am currently paying for cable. The problem for me is not so much the cost but the availability. We're looking for a new home, but it means my choice of area is limited by where I can access cable or DSL.
Cable is easy to work out and limits me to larger towns, but it seems BT cannot tell me where I can have DSL as it's a lottery as to what exchanges are enabled, this makes house hunting impossible. For BT to know if you can have DSL you must first have a BT line!
We need clear guidance on where it's available before we commit to BT. Getting through to the helpline is a nightmare, but that's another story!
Melanie Saunders, UK

The price is not necessarily the issue, I would be happy to pay the £40 per month if BT would enable broadband in my area (Bath)
Chris, UK

This decrease in the price of ADSL will help increase demand in smaller towns and villages to bring broadband to most of the country. Three cheers for BT...
Sebastien Lahtinen, UK

Most people don't even have the option due to the slow rollout so the price is irrelevant.
Alan Guile, England

Dropping the price is absolutely essential to kickstart broadband

Pete Brown, Scotland
Dropping the price is absolutely essential to kickstart broadband, but there also needs to be equal access throughout the whole country for broadband. Will users in remote areas get the same service? It seems not. Will they be compensated for the disadvantage?
Pete Brown, Scotland

Personally, I think that cutting the price of a service that is currently unavailable to me is a superb idea.
Andy B, UK

It's not just about cheaper access! It's also about not having a minimum 12-month contract. I rent like a lot of people my age and move about within London. I would install ADSL in a second if they waived the minimum 12-month contract.
Also BT engineers who could come to your flat outside office hours would be nice. As it stands you have to take time off to get anything installed!
Jon Stone, London, UK

In response to Jon Stone's comments, there are companies who now have no minimum term contract and the new wires only service means you just need to plug in a small micro-filter sent to you through the post, with no visit from an engineer necessary.
Marcus R, UK

I am a student in South Wales and was fed up with the poor service from 56k modem internet providers. My local cable company offered broadband at £25 a month. As a result I have now learnt a great deal and saved a load of time and money. I am struggling to afford the connection but as an IT student I find it to be invaluable.
Stuart Townsend, UK

See also:

24 Feb 02 | Business
BT 'to slash broadband costs'
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