DIY ADSL? It's not as cheap as you think

After trumpeting the lower cost of do-it-yourself broadband installations, ISPs now say consumers will have to buy their own ADSL modem

Internet Service Providers have warned that consumers who buy a self-installation "wires only" ADSL product will have to stump up the price of a modem -- which is likely to negate most of the saving a customer would expect to make by choosing this service. Because wires-only ADSL doesn't require a visit from an engineer, customers don't have to pay the £150 installation fee charged by BT. This self-installation product will also cost £5 per month less than a standard ADSL service -- leading to claims that this lower-priced service will boost broadband take-up. ISPs have warned, however, that users will have to supply their own ADSL modem as well as coughing up an "activation fee" -- expected to be in the region of £45 to £50 -- to pay for work that needs to be done at the local exchange. ADSL modems currently retail in the UK for upwards of £130, cancelling out potential savings. "It is fair to say that if you compare self-installation ADSL to the standard product today, you won't see a huge cost benefit," said Phil Worms, spokesman for Iomart. The cheapest ADSL modem available from Iomart is the Zyxel 630 USB modem, which costs £120+VAT (£141). Worms is confident, though, that this cost will drop sharply in the near future. "I believe that early next year we will see the likes of Alcatel, Zyxel and Fujitsu offering very competitively priced ADSL modems, possibly as low as £50," Worms predicted. He added that such devices would also include a micro-filter that will split data from voice traffic. Micro-filters will cost £12.50 or £15 each from ISPs, and must be fitted into a phone socket. Zen and the Art of Broadband Self-installation
Several ISPs announced on Tuesday that they would let users sign up to a trial of the DIY ADSL product from early December. During the trial there will not be an activation fee -- this will be charged once full commercial services go live in January. Customers will be sent a micro-filter by post. Iomart, Timewarp and Zen Internet will all charge £40 per month for their home product. Zen Internet is hoping to sell modems to customers in the near future -- but details are not currently available. "Wires-only ADSL is going to be a major step forward in Broadband provision," predicted Ian Buckley. He believes that customers will benefit from being able to choose a modem that suits their PC system, in terms of CPU usage and driver compatibility. Self-installation ADSL was developed by BT, and has been welcomed by Oftel -- which hopes that it will increase the take-up of broadband. See the ADSL News Section for the latest ADSL headlines. See the Broadband News Section for the latest on cable modems, ADSL, satellite and other high-speed access technologies. Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the Telecoms forum.

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