Cable & Wireless (C&W) has released a 'pay as you go' service that allows SMEs to hire an internet-connected PC and a full set of Microsoft Office applications for as little as £175 a month.
The company's a-Services division has announced its first UK offering, called a-Workspace, which bundles Microsoft's new ASP versions of its software and Compaq's internet-ready iPaq PCs.
C&W says the service will appeal to small businesses because they will not be tying up capital in PC equipment that quickly becomes redundant. They will also gain greater flexibility in expanding IT infrastructure as a business grows.
Graham Wallace, C&W chief executive, said: "With a-Services, small and medium-sized British businesses can, for the first time, access an entire IT infrastructure - the network, the hardware, the software, and the services - from a single provider at a price they can afford."
The a-Workspace package creates a virtual desktop space, with 800Mb of storage and full back-up, on servers at C&W's secure data centres. Each package has an 'unlimited' standard internet connection, managed network services and firewall.
A basic Office 2000 package costs £175 a month, while a combined Office 2000/Exchange 2000 bundle costs £199 a month, with both contracts requiring a 24-month minimum sign-up.
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