Price war hits ADSL installation costs

Telewest has undercut BT's reduction in the price of ADSL installation, while BT's cuts are being passed on to customers by ISPs

Telewest is attempting to boost interest in its broadband Internet package by halving the installation cost for one month.

During September, customers signing up for Telewest's "blueyonder" broadband service will only be charged a £25 installation fee, rather than the usual £50. The company claims that this deal represents the best value access to high-speed Internet access in the UK, even though customers will have to subscribe to another of Telewest's services, such as interactive digital TV or telephone service.

Telewest's announcement came a day after BT Wholesale said it was halving the installation cost of ADSL from £150 to £75 for three months in a bid to boost demand. Several ISPs, including PlusNet and Zen Internet, have already announced that they will pass the BT price cuts on to their customers.

The relatively high price of broadband in the UK is widely seen as one reason for a disappointing slow take-up, and these reductions in installation prices are expected to encourage more surfers to subscribe to ADSL.

Chad Raube, head of Internet services at Telewest, said that his company was keen to improve the value of its service. "Breaking down cost barriers for broadband virgins is one way to enable more customers to join the Internet revolution," he said on Tuesday. Telewest's blueyonder broadband Internet service gives high-speed, unlimited Internet access for £33 per month or £25 with subscriptions to other Telewest services.

Zen Internet, like PlusNet, buys ADSL capacity from BT Wholesale. It is hoping that the cut in the installation charge will boost interest in broadband in the lead-up to Christmas.

Zen Internet marketing manager Ian Buckley said BT's move was a positive step, but added that more needed to be done. "We need there to be a bigger initiative in attracting businesses to the service. I believe the Service Level Guarantees to be introduced at the end of this year and rate adaption of the ethernet service will help this," said Buckley.

BT Wholesale's installation fee cut follows a recent reduction in the price of ADSL to £30 per month.

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