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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
BT launches direct access broadband
BT Logo
A no frills broadband product changes nature of net business
BT has unveiled its latest service for the high-speed internet access market - a no frills product called BT Broadband.

Described by BT as a "complementary alternative to the ISP (internet service provider) model" the service strips out extra services such as e-mail and free personal web space.

The direct connection broadband service will offer the same speeds as other ADSL products on the market, but will be cheaper than most at 27 per month.

Customers will also pay a one-off connection charge of 60 and modems will have to be bought separately.


It is a unique model that is more efficient because the connection doesn't have to go via an ISP

Angus Porter, BT
It will be available nationwide from the autumn and BT hopes to connect half a million consumers to the service by the summer of 2003.

"Consumers will be going directly to the internet," said the managing director of BT's consumer division Angus Porter.

"It is a unique model that is more efficient because the connection doesn't have to go via an ISP."

Partnership deals

Users will be connected to a page that will offer technical advice and links to a range of partners that BT has signed deals with.

These include Google, Sky, Yahoo, BBCi, lastminute.com, and ISPs Claranet and Plusnet.

Not all ISPs are happy with the idea though. One source who did not want to be named said BT's decision to change the access model had "sent a shiver down the whole ISP industry".

Moving in on ISPs

Mr Porter said BT is not breaking any regulatory rules.

"We are buying the service from BT Wholesale and it is available to any other ISP. The ISPs that are up in arms are those that provide little more than pure internet access." he said.

"It's a bit like when a big retailer moves next door to a small retailer and the small retailer has got to find something to keep customers coming into his shop."

The idea of paid-for content will also be trialled under the new service, with BT's partners offering music, gaming, and other services for a fee.

Telecoms regulator Oftel said it had not yet looked at the service.

"BT doesn't have to get our approval in advance. We only investigate product launches if we receive complaints," said an Oftel spokesperson.

See also:

23 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Telewest offers super-fast broadband
19 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Broadband comes to the High Street
17 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
Rural residents demand broadband
08 Apr 02 | Sci/Tech
BT offers new way to connect to net
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