Demon ditches broadband sign-up fee

By making it cheaper to sign up for ADSL, the service provider says Broadband Britain will grow even faster

UK ISP Demon is dropping the connection fee for its entire range of ADSL products for at least the next three months, a decision that parent company Thus says will help the creation of Broadband Britain.

The move, which covers both home and business ADSL packages, was announced by Thus on Monday. It means savings of up to £90 for a consumer, and £250 for those buying a corporate product.

BT Wholesale announced last month it was halving the connection costs for some of its wholesale ADSL products, which Demon resells, for three months. Thus said on Monday that its move applies to more products than those included in BT Wholesale's deal, as well as being twice as large a saving.

Thus plans to waive all connection fees until the end of March 2003 -- when the BT Wholesale offer also runs out -- after which time it will assess the situation.

According to Nigel Stevens, Thus product director, the only way to achieve a truly inclusive Broadband Britain is to remove the barriers to entry. "Coupled with a significant reduction in the charge levied by our suppliers we believe the demand now exists to enable us to waive all connection charges until at least the end of March 2003, at which point we will review our connection charges policy once again," said Stevens in a statement.

"Our growing broadband subscriber base coupled with recent technical and regulatory developments are changing the dynamics of the market. We believe there may be further opportunities to make broadband services more affordable," Stevens added.

Even though consumer ADSL packages are typically self-installation, BT Wholesale charges a connection fee of £50 to cover work that has to be carried out at the local exchange before a user can get broadband.

ISPs usually pass this cost onto consumers. For example, anyone signing up for the Demon Express Solo product was previously charged £50 on top of the monthly fee of £24.99.

Demon also sells an Express Total package, where PC users had to pay a £149 start-up fee that covered both the connection charge and the ADSL modem. Mac users were charged £189. Now, both packages have no connection fee, but users must still pay for the modem (£85 for the PC product, £99 for the Mac).

Demon's business range of ADSL products are all installed by an engineer. Before, this cost £250, but at least until the end of March 2003 Demon will supply and install the necessary equipment for nothing.

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