Update: BT jumps on board cheap Net access bandwagon

BT has responded to recent moves by Altavista and NTL to cut the costs of getting online by shaking up its own Internet access fees - although the changes announced today will not necessarily affect the charges end users have to pay.From June, the telco will offer unlimited evening and weekend access for consumers for £15.

BT has responded to recent moves by Altavista and NTL to cut the costs of getting online by shaking up its own Internet access fees - although the changes announced today will not necessarily affect the charges end users have to pay.

From June, the telco will offer unlimited evening and weekend access for consumers for £15.25 a month, along with up to 80 minutes of inclusive voice calls. Unlimited access 24x7 will be available for under £30 per month. Business users will be charged £29.74 excluding VAT.

Although BT claims the access options will offer residential and business customers "access to the Internet with no hidden charges", it is still up to individual ISPs to set their own tarrifs. The prices released today - which will be offered under the BT SurfTime brand - are wholesale, and do not necessarily reflect the costs the end user will pay.

A BT statement says: "Under SurfTime, the total cost of accessing the Internet will consist of a telephony charge, along with any charges that ISPs may wish to charge for connection to their service, and provision of content."

The announcement will not affect customers of BT's own Internet access services.

BT's SurfTime package, which was unveiled last December, was originally expected to cost around £35 per month.

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