Tiscali has launched a new 150Kbps broadband service at £15.99 a month, the same price as many dial-up packages.
The company said the pricing showed what ISPs could achieve when not relying on BT's network but instead shop around for wholesale connectivity. This option was opened up last month by regulator Oftel.
The service is £2 a month cheaper than NTL's comparable service for the same bandwidth, and £19 a month cheaper than BT's 128Kbps Midband service.
By setting the price at the cost of most unmetered dial-up services, Tiscali hopes to persuade more people of the benefits of an always-on service and to migrate from dialup services.
"We want to make broadband affordable for everyone," said Tiscali director Steve Horley.
"The new offer gets rid of the price gap between narrowband and broadband, and should remove the biggest financial barrier to broadband uptake."
But Ovum analyst Michael Phillpot suggested that, while it might attract some people away from dialup services, £15.99 a month may still be too expensive.
"There is under 10 per cent market penetration of broadband at the moment and I think that most people thinking of switching over to broadband will prefer to pay the extra £4 that many ISPs offer for a 512Kbps service," he told vnunet.com.
"If it was priced at around £10 a month I think more people would consider using it. That said, similar models have been very successful in countries such as Canada, but they have been cheaper."
Around 60 per cent of the country will be able to get the service, with a planned 80 per cent footprint by the new year.
Installation for the broadband-lite service costs £25 and Tiscali throws in a free modem.
Users must sign up to a 12-month contract but will not be charged extra to upgrade to one of Tiscali's two other broadband packages, offering speeds of 256Kbps and 512Kbps.
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