BT insists it will hit no-frills broadband target

Rumours that BT Retail is set to miss a key broadband goal are wide of the mark says the company, which believes it can still hit the magic number

BT said on Friday it was confident that it will have sold at least 500,000 subscriptions to its no-frills broadband package by this summer, despite speculation that the target may be too ambitious to be achieved.

A BT spokesman told ZDNet UK News that the rate of take-up of BT Broadband is still growing strongly and is now close to 10,000 new users per week.

With a marketing campaign planned for the second quarter of 2003, Pierre Danon, chief executive of BT Retail, has said he still believes the goal of gaining at least half a million BT Broadband subscribers by this summer is attainable.

In its latest financial results, published on Thursday, BT said weekly sales of BT Broadband are "now exceeding 7,500", and in a press release put out this week announcing a deal with Yahoo! BT disclosed that it now has "over 100,000" BT Broadband customers.

Some in the industry have speculated that these figures indicate that BT Retail will fall short of hitting its 500,000 target, pointing out that at 7,500 new subscribers per week it will take a whole year to add another 400,000 users.

According to BT Retail, though, the picture is actually more rosy.

"Customer growth is now closer to 10,000 per week and the total user base is now significantly more than 100,000. We're still gaining momentum and are confident the 500,000 users target will be hit," explained a BT Retail spokesman.

BT Broadband, unlike most broadband packages, does not include features such as an email account, Web space or any security packages. Instead, customers must get these features from third-parties.

BT is expected to unveil a range of products and applications to be used with BT Broadband this year, including possibly a 'home monitoring' product.

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