BT cuts rural broadband fees

A product aimed at bringing broadband to the most remote rural areas gets a steep price cut, with much of the cost shifted to monthly payments

BT has cut its rates for providing wholesale broadband access to rural Britain, a move which may encourage service providers to offer broadband in the most remote locations.

The telco has cut the rates for its ADSL Exchange Activate product, which allows service providers to buy broadband access for small numbers of users in areas that BT says would otherwise be uneconomical.

In July 2003, when the product was introduced, service providers could buy access for 30 users for three years with a single up-front payment of £45,000. That charge has been reduced to £25,000, but users must also pay a connection fee and monthly line rental at BT's IPStream Home 500 rates. The total cost, spread over three years, still amounts to several thousand pounds less than the original ADSL Exchange Activate charges.

Charges for additional blocks of 30 users have been reduced from a flat £30,000 payment to £10,000 plus connection and line rental fees.

The new fees come into effect this week.

BT has arranged "trigger levels" for many remote areas, so that when enough users have committed to buying broadband access BT will enable the local exchange. ADSL Exchange Activate is aimed at areas too remote to merit a trigger level.

BT said it made the changes based on feedback from broadband retail service providers.