BT has let slip the pricing of its Home Highway hybrid ISDN and analogue phone service - dashing hopes that it will provide a cheap digital link.
The service will not be launched until 15 September but the proposed prices have been submitted to telecomms watchdog Oftel.
Home Highway splits a standard line into two channels which can be used in either digital or analogue mode in any combination.
The cost of the two channels works out at roughly that of two standard lines, or a single twin-channel ISDN 2 link. Converting from an existing standard line costs will cost #175.08, with a quarterly rental of #81. Customers could also choose to pay an initial #116.33, plus #120 a quarter, with the first #45 worth of calls free.
Corresponding start-up charges for a new connection will be #292.58 or #233.83, depending on the same rental options. BT quotes similar charges for a Business Highway service, but a spokesman said a single service only will be launched under the name BT Highway.
As with straight ISDN, two lines can be aggregated to give a line speed of 128Kbps, though this incurs a double time charge. But even a single line at 64Kbps is appreciably faster than a 56K modem, which typically delivers 40-50Kbps.
An advantage is that you can still use your existing analogue equipment, and Select Services like caller diversion, call waiting, three-way calling, call barring, call minder, reminder call, ring back, caller display, call return and number withholding.
Clive Akass is associate editor of Personal Computer World
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