More ISPs cut broadband prices

Many Internet service providers are dropping their activation costs as if they were going out of fashion, while others are giving broadband away for free

Two more ISPs have joined the ranks of those offering cut-price broadband.

Breathe said on Wednesday that it has permanently dropped the activation fee -- a saving of some £60 -- for new broadband customers.

This activation fee is paid when a user first sign up for broadband, and many ISPs are halving it to £30 for the first three months of this year -- passing on a wholesale price cut implemented by BT.

By going further and axing the activation fee altogether, as well as allowing customers to provide their own ADSL modem, breathe says it is creating "the most competitive and uncomplicated broadband package in the UK."

"With the amount of confusing marketing and promotional packages on offer, breathe broadband is a simple package with no hidden charges and no catches. It also allows dissatisfied users of other broadband providers to join breathe broadband without the need to buy an expensive starter pack or modem," said Anita Hockin, head of sales and marketing at breathe in a statement.

Once signed up, breathe broadband customers will be charged £25.99 per month. This is more expensive than some other ADSL packages, but cheaper than those offered by BT, Freeserve and AOL.

In permanently dropping the activation fee, breathe is matching AOL -- which has never charged it.

AOL, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that customers who sign up for AOL Broadband before the end of March 2003 would get the first month for free, compared to the usual monthly fee of £27.99.

"For one all-inclusive fee AOL Broadband brings consumers all the benefits of a high-speed connection plus an exclusive package of content, easy-to-use email, instant messaging and community features. By bringing a free month concept to broadband we believe we have an unbeatable all-round offer," claimed Karen Thomson, chief executive of AOL UK in a statement.

See the Broadband News Section for the latest on cable modems, ADSL, satellite and other high-speed access technologies, including a comprehensive guide to the best deals out there.

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