ADSL on the way from Easynet

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are falling over themselves to offer ADSL services, and Easynet is the latest to join the fray.

Easynet, which provides Internet access for businesses, has announced that will begin to offer ADSL service to a limited number of business customers in London in the next few months, with nationwide services beginning next year. The company will likely make consumers green with envy by offering the service to business customers free for the first three months.

The news follows the launch of a DSL service in Belgium last month. ADSL, or Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line, is touted as the next generation of Internet access technology, offering high speeds and constant connectivity for an affordable price over standard telephone lines. Its biggest competition in the high-speed, or broadband, space is Net access over television cables. ADSL has had its most widespread rollouts so far in the US, but has yet to reach the mainstream.

Easynet's ADSL service will be rolled out concurrently with BT introducing ADSL lines around the country, said an Easynet spokesman. The first services will be available to customers in London and Manchester in November, with Edinburgh, Birmingham and Newcastle following in December.

After the three-month free trial period, customers will be offered a three-month contract for £2000, which will then be reviewed. Although this service is slated as a trial, a spokesman said the company expected that it will "extend seamlessly into a full service".

The trial will be available to any size business, said a spokesman, but "as this is placed between ISDN and leased line access, it will probably appeal to smaller companies".

Although over 75 percent of Easynet's customers are corporate, the company said that it would not rule out providing ADSL services to consumers as BT rolls the technology into its switches.