easyEverything launches Net centre in London

The world's largest Internet café opens today in Victoria, London, and promises the fastest and cheapest Internet access in the UK -- but it will only stay cheap if nobody goes.

The brainchild of easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyEverything is touted as the first Internet shop. It offers 400 terminals for surfing, checking email and online shopping. It also claims to be the cheapest way of accessing the Net but an introductory offer of "surf all you like for £1" will switch to £1 an hour after today and may increase depending on demand. Haji-Ioannou denies this makes a mockery of its claim to be the cheapest. "I challenge anyone to make it cheaper but I will charge whatever the market can bear," he said. "If people are willing to pay more then I'll charge more. If the shop is empty it will be cheaper," he told ZDNet News.

Hopes are high. easyEverthing is expecting around 6,000 visitors a day and is hoping to open four other sites in central London during the summer.

Haji-Ioannou says he is not concerned by reports of American cyber cafes being closed as home use increases. "I've learned form the airline that everyone loves a bargain," he said. "The Internet can provide massive savings on the high street. The consumer has been paying too much for too long. All that is going to change."

Internet connection to the café is supplied by PSINet and the shop will be open 24 hours a day.