Business broadband providers cut prices

ISPs warn that more still needs to be done to improve ADSL take-up
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

Internet service providers (ISPs) who provide broadband connections to businesses have begun cutting their prices, after BT announced a similar move on Tuesday.

From September BT will slash £5 per month off the cost of its IPStream broadband products, which other ISPs buy from the BT wholesale division and then sell to business customers. This represents a cut of up to seven percent for the cheapest package, the IPStream S500. BT claimed that the move, following a similar cut in the price of its consumer products just two weeks earlier, shows that it is committed to stimulating demand in broadband.

Two ISPs have already followed suit and cut the cost of their business ADSL packages.

Sheffield-based PlusNet will now sell its ADSL Business 500 package for £75 (+VAT) per month, while its top-end Business 2000 package has fallen to £145 (+VAT) per month. These packages offer bandwidth of 500kbps and 2Mbps respectively. Alistair Wyse, director of product and service development for PlusNet, said he was pleased to see BT taking the needs of the business community seriously. "We've obviously got a long way to go before we get to 'Broadband Britain', but this comes as welcome news for business," he said in a statement.

Wyse also called on BT to address the "disproportionately expensive" costs of installing ADSL.

Zen Internet will also cut its business ADSL packages by £60 per year. Its 512kbps multi-user ADSL service will now cost £105 (+VAT) per month, while its 2Mbps package will cost £185 (+VAT). "We fully welcome the BT price reduction, which can only help to spur the rollout of broadband to businesses in the UK", said marketing manager Ian Buckley.

According to its Web site, BTopenworld sells its Business 500Plus -- offering 500kbps download speeds -- for £99 (+VAT) a month, while its Business 2000Plus -- which provides 2Mbps speeds -- costs £160 (+VAT). It costs a business an additional £20 (+VAT) per month for 13 static IP addresses.

Although those who hope to see broadband services available should welcome any drop in ADSL price, more still needs to be done. Cost is only one reason for the slow take-up of demand for broadband, with critics claiming that the fact that large parts of the country can't get ADSL is another.

BT insists that it is trying to improve this situation by recently launching Rate Adaptive DSL (RADSL) which increases the maximum range of an ADSL-enabled exchange from 3.5km to 5.5km. This is currently only available for consumer customers, but BT Wholesale is thought to be working to bring this improvement to its business services as well.

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