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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 18 December, 2002, 09:54 GMT
BT speeds up broadband process
Telephone exchange in Battersea
Many more telephone exchanges have been ADSL-enabled
BT has decided to speed up the process for broadband ordering in the UK following confusion and complaints about the process.

Its broadband registration scheme, designed for those living in areas currently not reached by its ADSL technology, has proved immensely popular with more than 200,000 people signing up so far.

Already, 10 telephone exchanges have been upgraded as a result and a further 15 are in the process of being broadband-enabled.

BT has decided to scrap the six-week confirmation process that was previously needed before an exchange could be earmarked for an upgrade.

January sales

There is no guarantee it will come down but the next move might be that the monthly fee will fall

Dan Stevenson, Jupiter Research analyst
It will mean thousands of residents will be able to get their hands on fast net services more quickly than before and will also ensure BT is on target to achieve its ambitious footprint for ADSL.

Pressure from government and community groups has forced BT to extend the reach of ADSL and it now hopes to have up to 90% coverage by 2005.

BT is also to cut the price of broadband in the New Year which could see the initial connection charge consumers pay to connect to high-speed services fall.

In the past, installation costs of up to 150 have put users off making the upgrade to fast net services.

Stimulate the market

Many users now upgrade to broadband via a self-install kit that costs around 80, although some internet service providers already offer a free connection fee.

BT has cut the wholesale fee ISPs pay for each broadband connection from 50 to 25 for a limited period in an effort to provide another incentive for users to upgrade in the traditionally quiet post-Christmas time.

The offer will only run for three months.

"We're constantly looking at ways to help service providers stimulate the market for broadband," said BT's director of wholesale products Bruce Stanford.

"With these special offers, resellers will have the opportunity to start the New Year with some even more attractive prices," he added.

"It makes life a bit easier for ISPs which are competing on wafer-thin margins," said Jupiter Research analyst Dan Stevenson.

Scepticism

"It could see the price of self-install connections fall but there will be no obligation for ISPs to pass on the savings to consumers," he added.

It may even lead to price cuts in the monthly fee BT charges ISPs.

"There is no guarantee it will come down but the next move might be that the monthly fee will fall," said Mr Stevenson.

Some industry insiders are sceptical about the offer though.

Delays in the ordering process mean that ISPs might not receive their connections until the middle of March, just the time the promotion comes to an end, an industry source told BBC News Online.

See also:

10 Dec 02 | Technology
05 Dec 02 | England
04 Dec 02 | Scotland
29 Nov 02 | Technology
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