BT cuts broadband prices - with a catch

By clamping down on bandwidth hogs, BT says it can cut prices for everyone else

BT announced on Wednesday that it is slashing its retail broadband prices by as much as £10 per month, but setting tighter limits on how much data its users will be able to download.

From July, a monthly subscription to the no-frills 512Kbps BT Broadband package will now cost £24.99 per month, down from £27 per month. A BT Yahoo Broadband (which includes various features including email and security products) 512Kbps connection will now cost £26.99 per month (from £29.99) while the BT Yahoo Broadband 1Mbps service will drop from £40 to £29.99.

BT is also bringing in new limits on how much its customers can use their broadband connections for. Customers using a 512Kbps connection will now only be permitted to download 15 gigabytes of data a month. Those using the 1Mbps service will be limited to 30GB per month.

Previously, BT operated 'advisory limits' of one gigabyte of data per day, so Wednesday's announcement effectively halves how much data its 512Kbps users are allowed to download each month.

The telco says that bringing in these restrictions gives it the chance to cut prices. It insists that most users will be unaffected, saying that the 15GB allowance will let users surf for 15 hours per day, send and receive 3,000 emails per week and still be able to access digital material like video clips and radio stations.

"There's only a very small number of very heavy users it will affect. If these guys don't want to use our service, that's their option," said a BT spokesperson.

Although these bandwidth caps are being added to BT's terms and conditions and will come into force 28 days later, they won't actually be enforced until next year. By that stage, BT hopes to have brought in its flexible bandwidth service which will give it the ability to sell additional bandwidth to users with heavy requirements.