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PlusNet targets dial-up users with slower ADSL

Another ISP has started selling an always-on, 150Kbps Internet connection for little more than the cost of dial-up, but this product won't get the broadband tag

PlusNet has become the latest UK Internet service provider to offer a cut-price and reduced-speed ADSL product.

The ISP unveiled its DSL Connect product, which costs £14.99 per month, on Friday. It is aimed at people currently using narrowband products who want a faster connection to help them browse the Web, shop online, use chat and email.

DSL Connect is a 150 Kilobit per second (Kbps) ADSL service that provides always-on Web access at up to three times the speed of a dial-up connection, for a similar price. Like all ADSL products, phone calls can be made down the line at the same time.

At 150Kbps, DSL Connect is significantly slower than a standard 512Kbps broadband connection. But at up to £15 per month cheaper, it may appeal to users who aren't too interested in streaming video, music applications and online gaming, but still want a constant connection.

"We believe that DSL Connect will meet what we see as a huge demand for convenient, always-on connectivity at the same price as most other ISP's unmetered dial offerings," said Marco Potesta, commercial director for PlusNet. "Internet access at 150Kbps offers great value for those primarily using low-bandwidth applications such as Web browsing and email. DSL Connect is the logical next step for those still using traditional dial and unmetered access."

NTL offers a 150Kbps service to its cable customers, while Tiscali recently launched a 150Kbps ADSL product. Both have caused some controversy, with rival ISPs claiming that they are too slow to be worthy of the broadband tag.

PlusNet says it is aware of this issue, and will be promoting DSL Connect as a "convenient and low-cost ADSL product", rather than as a broadband product.

DSL Connect can be pre-ordered from Friday, and will initially be available on a trial basis. PlusNet will begin processing orders on 22 December, and will start installing connections from the start of January 2004.