BT and Yahoo team up to tackle AOL

BT will rename its Openworld broadband service to reflect its alliance with Internet portal Yahoo

BT today launched a multimillion pound rebranding of its Openworld consumer broadband Internet service as BT Yahoo Broadband, with both companies attempting to take on AOL.

BT and Yahoo will struggle to compete with AOL on price and content, and are instead pushing the advantages of improved parental controls, spam filtering, anti-virus and content personalisation.

BT Openworld broadband customers will be migrated for free to the new service during the next few months, with the price remaining at £29.99 per month. Narrowband customers will also have the option of upgrading, although they will not be able to utilise some of the broadband content pushed through the homepage.

The service uses a BT Yahoo Broadband Internet browser based on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and includes the usual features for personalising content and re-ordering the homepage. Parental controls mean parents can set up sub-accounts for their children and control the content their children can access and for how long. The controls also extend to instant messaging.

At a demo of the service in London, a Yahoo spokesman said it will continue to use BT's anti-spam provider Brightmail for now, but will move over to the Spam Guard service used by Yahoo during the next few months. The Google search facility in the browser will also eventually be replaced when Yahoo integrates search technology from acquisition Overture into its products.

A £10m TV advertising campaign to back the launch will hit screens later this month, featuring a pair of geeky IT kids called Jimmy and Mikey.

Yahoo has taken the approach of partnering with key service providers in different regions of the world, and the BT link-up follows that trend.

Mark Opzoomer, managing director and regional vice president of Yahoo Europe, said in a statement: "Broadband isn't just about speed and constant connectivity, it is the key to richer and more advanced services than most Internet users have ever experienced before. In order to deliver this, content and access must go hand in hand, and there are no two bigger, more trusted and more dynamic names in this market than BT and Yahoo."

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