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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Broadband bargains tempt surfers
Hand on mouse
Broadband users have plenty of choice
Broadband continues to fall in price as internet service provider Freedom2Surf offers high-speed access for under 15.

The 14.99 Connect Lite service offers one megabit speeds, double that of the average broadband product.

But there is a fairly hefty set-up fee of 79.99 for modem and installation and a one gigabyte monthly download allowance.

It is the latest in a series of aggressive price cuts from firms keen to win and retain broadband customers.

Death of dial-up

Broadband customers currently with rival ISPs will be offered a 10 cash incentive to switch.

Users wishing to buy more traffic allowance can buy an extra 1GB for 2.99.

For download addicts, Freedom2Surf is offering another 1 megabit package - Freedom2Surf Connect - which offers users four gigabytes more monthly downloads for a price of 19.99.

Chris Panayis, managing director of Freedom2Surf thinks the two new services could be a killer combination.

"We believe packages like this signal the death of dial-up," he said.

Summer offers

There could be quite a land-grab and I expect more announcements in late summer or autumn
Ian Fogg, Jupiter
Jupiter analyst Ian Fogg expects it to be an exciting summer for broadband.

""The wholesale price drops BT is making have yet to kick in fully, and ISPs are continuing to analyse their costs on how aggressively they can price broadband for consumers," he said.

"There could be quite a land-grab and I expect more announcements in late summer or autumn," he added.

He warns the public to be wary of hidden costs though.

"Dial-up users may be tempted by the 14.99 headline figure but less so by the big upfront fee," he said.

Rapid change

Wanadoo, the recently rebranded Freeserve, is sceptical of how Freedom2Surf will sustain such low margins on its broadband service.

Does it have a good recommendation?
What is monthly fee?
What are the set-up charges?
How long does contract tie you in for?
"The question I would ask is 'will they be around in 12 months time?'" said a Wanadoo spokesperson.

Wanadoo is constantly monitoring the market, said the spokesperson, but at the moment is happy that its 17.99 512 kilobit service is a "very competitive offer".

The broadband market has been through a period of rapid change in recent months in terms of both price and speeds being offered to customers.

But the UK still has some way to go to match its European neighbours said Mr Fogg.

In France, consumers can get a 512K service for under 15 euros (10) and the set-up fee is offset by using a rental model.

Freedom2Surf is hoping to attract 50,000 subscribers to its new broadband products by the end of the year.

"Dial-up is there for people who want it but broadband is better for us and better for the customer," said Mr Panayis.

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