Faster broadband a hit for Bulldog

Unbundled broadband is typically faster than services offered by ISPs reselling BT broadband services, and early evidence indicates that users are warming to it

UK telco Bulldog is confident it is on track to succeed with its new faster ADSL-based broadband products, based on early sales figures.

The company revealed on Tuesday that it expects to hit its targets for its Primetime range -- which was launched back in mid-December 2002 and is faster than BT Wholesale's consumer ADSL product.

Despite the fact that Primetime is only available in London, a Bulldog spokeswoman told ZDNet UK that the telco was pleased with the level of interest generated by the product range, having processed several hundred orders since the launch eight weeks ago.

"(We are) on track to meet our conservative target of well over 1,000 customers for the premium broadband service by the end of Q1 2003," the Bulldog spokeswoman said.

The Primetime range consists of Primetime 1000 and Primetime 2000, which give 1Mbps and 2Mbps download speeds respectively during off-peak hours -- specifically between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays, plus weekends and bank holidays -- and 512Kbps speeds at other times. Until 30 June, though, the higher speeds will be available at all times.

Aimed at gamers and heavy Net users, the Primetime products are a rare example of an unbundled broadband product.

Unlike many broadband ISPs, which simply resell BT Wholesale's ADSL range, Bulldog has created its own broadband products. As one of the few companies taking part in local-loop unbundling, Bulldog has installed equipment in some of BT's local exchanges -- allowing it to offer its own wholesale products.

As ZDNet UK reported, around 20 ISPs have agreed to resell these products to customers.

Currently, Bulldog itself is acting as both wholesaler and retailer for the Primetime range, which is only available in London because of the limited number of local exchanges so far unbundled by Bulldog.

Like many other UK ISPs, Bulldog is currently offering its broadband products at special terms. The activation fee has been cut from £99 to £49 -- mirroring a similar move by BT Wholesale -- and the first 500 people to sign up in February for either product will get two months' free rental.

The standard monthly rental for Primetime 1000 and Primetime 2000 are £29.99 and £39.99 per month respectively.

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