Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 11/5/2004BT has a cunning plan to encourage broadband take-up -- subscribe some time in the next forty days, and you'll get a free return flight to one of ten popular destinations in Europe and America, or even Philadelphia. This is a daring piece of promotion, given that Hoover tried it in the past and ended up having to sell the company to sort out the repercussions, but the sums obviously look tempting -- I had a similar offer yesterday from First Direct plugging its credit card.

Tuesday 11/5/2004
BT has a cunning plan to encourage broadband take-up -- subscribe some time in the next forty days, and you'll get a free return flight to one of ten popular destinations in Europe and America, or even Philadelphia. This is a daring piece of promotion, given that Hoover tried it in the past and ended up having to sell the company to sort out the repercussions, but the sums obviously look tempting -- I had a similar offer yesterday from First Direct plugging its credit card.

Much as I approve in principle of something for nothing, it's a shame that BT chose this way to promote a technology with such potential benefits for the environment through removing the need to travel. The hedonism in a free jaunt to New York or Barcelona is attractive in a way that buying a couple of hundred quid's worth of carbon-chewing forestry is not, but there could be more appropriate freebies. A few tubs of organic ice-cream, a couple of crates of eco-friendly wine, perhaps even discounted car insurance. After all, if you're not going to drive it so far it won't cost so much.

But look on the bright side. If the cost of petrochemicals keeps going up, there's a small but enticing chance that BT will end up with so many liabilities it'll have to make real money out of broadband -- perhaps by cutting prices, offering a decent service and encouraging proper competition in the market.

Nah, those are 737s taking off to Prague, not Gloucester Old Spots.