BT announces its prices for ADSL Thursday, claiming they are highly competitive and comparable with the US.
From the spring, UK ISPs will be able to buy ADSL services from the telco giant for a wholesale price of £35 per month. ISPs will also have to pay a one-off connection fee of £150. Experts predict this will create a consumer price of around £50.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is seen by experts as a crucial driver for e-commerce, giving British businesses and consumers high speed and always-on Net access as well as a plethora of multimedia services such as video-on-demand.
In its consultative document on ADSL, telecoms watchdog Oftel warned that prices for the services had to be low enough to attract mass take-up. BT believes Thursday's announcement reflects this. A BT spokesman describes the prices as "highly competitive" and anticipates huge demand for the services. "ISPs are already beating down our door for these services," he says.
This contradicts BT Chairman, Sir Iain Vallance's statement at the Telecommunications Managers Association conference in Brighton Tuesday, when he claimed "there was not a demand for ADSL on a widescale."
BT has been trialling ADSL in North London for the last year and has come under fire for the slow rollout of a nationwide service.
This spring, BT will equip 400 exchanges with ADSL capacity, bringing the high bandwidth services to six million households.
Data streams for the ADSL service will be 512kbits/s, mirroring phase two of BT's ADSL trial in North London. Last month, users and industry experts expressed concern that users on phase two of the trial were being asked to pay more (£50 per month) for slower speed. The initial trial offered users a 2Mbit/s connection for £30. At the time, BT defended its decision to hike prices and lower bandwidth, describing the new service as more "realistic."
While BT is happy its new prices are comparable with the US, European users are enjoying cheaper ADSL. France Telecom offers ADSL services for 265 francs (£25) per month.
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