More partners for BT's no-frills broadband

Delia Smith and Bamber Gascoigne join the ranks of content providers that are signing up as partners with BT Broadband

BT's push to dominate the UK's consumer broadband market with a 'no-frills' product hit another landmark on Monday when it announced that another 30 Web sites have signed up as content partners.

This latest raft of content providers takes to 60 the number of companies who have teamed up with BT Broadband. The list of new partners includes video rental company Blockbuster, Delia Smith's cooking site and HistoryWorld -- an online archive of historical articles whose chairman is Bamber Gascoigne, the original presenter of University Challenge.

As content partners, these sites will be included on the start-up page seen by BT Broadband subscribers, and they are expected to feature in a high-profile marketing campaign for the service later this year.

This deal significantly increases the amount of broadband content that BT Retail will be able to offer to customers. Last April, when it first revealed its intention to offer BT Broadband, the telco said it had already signed partnership deals with sites such as the BBC and It has also just entered a marketing deal with BSkyB.

Unlike traditional ISPs, BT Broadband will not provide users with services such as free email or Web space. This, the company says, means it can offer broadband cheaper than ISPs such as BTopenworld, AOL and Freeserve, which do provide such services and charge between £29.99 and £35 per month for broadband access.

At £27 per month, BT Broadband is still several pounds per month more expensive than broadband from a small ISP like Pipex or V21, which charge £23.44 and £19.99 per month respectively. BT Retail has claimed that such prices are not sustainable in the long term.

BT Broadband has been available since June, but BT Retail is planning a full-scale launch of the product in September. Angus Porter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer division, told ZDNet UK recently that he expected that BT Broadband would have 50 percent of the UK's consumer ADSL customers by summer 2003.

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