Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Business: Your Money
Tesco takes on Net giants
Online shopping is expected to mushroom in the next five years
Computert users in the UK will soon be able to choose their Internet service provider (ISP) between the potato and pasta aisles.
Britain's leading supermarket chain Tesco plans to take on the computer giants by offering customers access to the Internet via their own service provider, TescoNet.
The service will be available from July 8.
Like many other service providers, TescoNet will give customers five e-mail addresses per subscription and five megabytes of disc space to create Websites.
What's the attraction?
Being a service provider is not a very profitable business in the UK. With more than 230 ISPs fighting for a share of a market currently worth just £100m, only about 10% make any money out of it.
UK users currently spend less than £10m a year on shopping on the Internet, but this is expected to grow to more than £500m a year in the next five years.
"Our experience has shown the new wave of Internet users are looking for a name they can trust. The launch of TescoNet is another milestone in helping customers get the most out of technology," he said.
Focus on younger customers
Tesco is not the only company eager to encourage people to shop on the Internet. Other supermarkets, banks and building societies are also looking to move into this area.
But regular Internet users are not necessarily typical supermarket shoppers.
Mr Howard says Tesco is aiming the service at its younger customers and those who are not afraid to try new products.
But he said there was a long way to go before the average supermarket customer gave up visiting their local shop.
A BBC Business Breakfast report on the subject found little enthusiasm among Tesco shoppers who were asked about the Internet.
Most seemed happier to visit their local supermarket or had too little interest in computers to attempt shopping from one.
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