BTopenworld launched its ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) internet service for small and medium-sized business customers today, but users could be waiting months before they can actually use it.
According to BTopenworld, unprecedented demand for its always-on high-speed access service will mean customers may have to wait up to three months before installation is completed.
Marc Deschamps, BTopenworld's chief operating officer, said in a statement posted on the ISP's website that the fact that a BT engineer has to physically install the service at the customer's end means it will "clearly take time to connect everyone".
"As a guide, if you pre-ordered the multi-computer (ethernet) service before 30 June and live or work within an ADSL exchange-enabled area, you should be up and running by September or October," said Deschamps. "If you pre-ordered the single computer (USB) service before 30 June, you should be online by October or November."
Customers not among the 100,000 that have already signed up for the service will face an even longer wait.
Deschamps said the company will be installing customers on a first come, first served basis. "So you can rest assured that those of you who have been waiting the longest for the BTopenworld experience will be among the first to benefit from it," he said.
BTopenworld has also attempted to deny that it failed to reach its target launch date for its consumer ADSL service. It said consumers could use the expensive ethernet-based service - which BT has always targeted at business users. However, not many consumers are likely to want to pay £99.99 a month with a £260 installation fee, plus VAT.
A BTopenworld spokesman said: "We have not delayed. We will be launching in July as we said. Our first product is a multi-computer ethernet-based product, designed for both small businesses and consumers who wish to have multiple access to a high-quality ethernet DSL-based service.
"In the US, most consumers use an ethernet service. Our USB service will be introduced as soon as the USB network product is made available to BTopenworld and all other service providers in the next couple of months, once BT is confident that sufficient testing has been conducted to ensure it delivers the quality of service you expect."
Steve Thorpe, membership services manager at the Telecoms Users' Association, said: "They are trying to cover themselves from potential accusations that they have missed deadlines. I guess also there aren't too many engineers with ADSL skills."
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