BTopenworld has offered a free ADSL upgrade to 850,000 customers, including those who were penalised last month for allegedly clogging up the unmetered service.
The offer has been sent to the BTopenworld Anytime and Surf customers -- many of whom were shunted off the 24/7 unmetered narrowband service last month for their "excessive" surfing habits, and were forced to use a new dial-up connection found to be significantly less reliable.
Those who accept the offer will save £150 on the ADSL installation cost, but will still have to pay £39.99 a month, compared to the £14.99 for BTopenworld Anytime. BT said it will also offer a refund to eligible customers who had already signed up for the earlier deal of half-price installation.
"This is to reward the loyal customers -- we're making this available to people across the board on the unmetered package, regardless of their usage packages," said a spokesman at BTopenworld. "A lot of people would benefit from broadband, and we would expect people who need to use the Internet for extended periods of time to sign up for it."
But many of the "heavy" Anytime users re-classified by BT a few weeks ago suspected they would be encouraged to upgrade to the faster ADSL service. One angery customer told ZDNet News, "I believe this is a campaign targeted at frequent users either to lose their custom or to get them to upgrade to ADSL -- I cannot obtain ADSL in my area and am dependent on regular access, not access when BT deem it ok."
BTopenworld admits that at present only 60 percent of the UK online population -- roughly 13 million households -- are able to connect to an ADSL-enabled exchange.
Customers that have received an email about the offer have until the end of October to place an order for the Home 500 product, and must arrange for the installation before the end of November. They must also sign up to a minimum 12-month contract.
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