In an attempt to cajole computer users to upgrade to a high-speed Internet connection, Tele2 is offering potential customers a free trial of its broadband service.
The ISP will give a free one-month trial to any consumer or business that is based in one of nine areas across England -- Bath, Basingstoke, Birmingham, Bristol, Crystal Palace, Guildford, Sheffield, Slough and Uxbridge. Information about the trial is available on the Tele2 Web site.
Home users who decide to keep the product after the trial must pay at least £39.99 +VAT a month. Tele2's business package starts at £99.99 +VAT per month. These prices are comparable with many of the self-installation ADSL services currently available from other UK ISPs.
However, the prices are significantly more than an unmetered narrowband connection. Some in the industry, including AOL, believe that broadband pricing will have to drop by at least £10 per month before consumers will be interested. Tele2 is gambling that users who take up the trial will be sufficiently impressed with their high-speed, always-on, Net connection to start paying when their trial is over.
The closing date for potential customers to sign up for the free trial is 28 February.
Wireless can bring the high-speed, always-on Internet to many places that aren't wired for cable or ADSL broadband, including rural areas and places where the telecoms infrastructure can't handle broadband data. It is also potentially easier to install than other systems, and could play a significant part in the spread of broadband to a mass market.
Tele2 also announced this week that it would extend its wireless network to anywhere in the UK where at least one hundred customers were prepared to sign up. This offer could see small businesses in rural areas ganging up to get a better Internet connection.
At the moment, the limiting factors on broadband takeup are said to be lack of consumer interest and high prices. One-third of the country still does not have access to any form of broadband.
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