ISP sacrifices file-swapping for cheaper broadband

PlusNet is pushing broadband closer to the £20 per month price point, but its new broadband package won't allow peer-to-peer file sharing

UK Internet service provider PlusNet announced on Friday that is launching a lower-priced broadband product.

Customers will only be charged £20.99 (including VAT) per month for PlusNet's ADSL Home Surf product -- £2 per month less than PlusNet's existing consumer broadband package, and £9 cheaper than many competing broadband services.

The downside with ADSL Home Surf is that subscribers will not be able to use peer-to-peer file-swapping services. This rules out popular but bandwidth-hungry applications such as Kazaa and Morpheus, which allow users to share MP3 files.

PlusNet claims that ADSL Home Surf is the best-value broadband product on the market, and suitable for people who want fast Internet access and gaming. "By focusing on the requirements of the majority of Internet users, we have been able to bring a new price point to the UK market," said Phil Sheard, marketing manager at PlusNet, in a statement.

As well as being able to surf the Internet at speeds of up to 512kbps, ADSL Home Surf customers will also get unlimited email addresses and 25MB of Web space. ADSL Home Surf comes with a 12-month contract, although for an extra £11.75 customers can get a monthly contract instead. There is a £58.75 installation fee, and customers will need an ADSL modem -- which can cost around £90.

PlusNet's existing consumer broadband package, which does allow file-swapping, costs £23 per month. Both Freeserve and BTopenworld -- the two largest ISPs offering ADSL broadband in the UK -- charge £29.99 per month.

BT Retail is close to launching a no-frills broadband package that will provide a high-speed Internet connection without services such as email. However, it is expected to cost £27 per month -- a price which some observers believe will not be low enough to compete.

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