Tesco is to become a provider of broadband Internet access, playing on a down-to-earth approach, customer loyalty and its ability to cross-sell other branded services.
The retailer is billing Tesco Broadband as both the "cheapest full 512K (sic) speed, unlimited service on offer in the UK from any major service provider" and "designed by children so adults can understand it".
It was developed using a panel of parents and their children who attend Ripple Infant and Junior School in Barking, Essex.
The company's communications partner in Tesco Broadband is NTL.
A spokeswoman said: "In a family, people use broadband in different ways. It's the kids who typically deal with bigger files, with things like games and video, but with a capped service parents are worrying all the time."
The service costs £19.97 per month, compared to around £25 for similar offerings from the likes of AOL, BT and Tiscali -- though Tesco is aware this is a market changing fast and is being careful about claiming to be the cheapest anywhere.
Connection and an ADSL modem are free, as is support, though only for the first 30 days. Thereafter it is 50p per minute. A firewall as well as antivirus and anti-spam protection is bundled with the service.
The retailer, which has operations in countries such as South Korea where extensive broadband coverage has made online shopping easier, is clearly hoping for some cross over with its other services.
Users will earn Clubcard points (one point per pound spent) and it is hoped customers will be those who use Tesco for voice calls, mobile calls and ecommerce through Tesco.com - naturally made easier with a broadband connection.
Tesco Broadband is available now, either from the Tesco website or from 700 stores nationwide, on CD-ROM.