Consumers eagerly awaiting the arrival of high-speed home internet access will be buoyed by the news that services are expected to launch within two weeks.
Freeserve announced today that it will launch its consumer ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service on 4 September. Other internet service providers (ISPs), including BT Openworld and Zen Internet, are also close to unveiling similar services.
FreeservePlus, which uses BT's ADSL platform, is for home use with a single PC. It is priced at £39.99 per month with an installation charge of £150, both amounts including VAT. Free installation is available to the first 1000 customers who pre-register online before 4 September.
John Pluthero, chief executive at Freeserve, said: "Being able to deliver ADSL before anyone else shows how Freeserve is able to exploit new technologies and gain competitive advantage to the benefit of our members."
Zen said it expects to launch its service over the next few weeks. The company said that while it has yet to finalise pricing, it expects to offer the service "around the same date as Freeserve".
Claire Rowberry, head of corporate communications at Thus, told vnunet.com at the beginning of this month that the ISP's ADSL services "are due to be launched within the next four weeks".
"Following extensive trials, in which Thus customers had 47 per cent of all available lines, we are reviewing the provision of our service to ensure customers experience all of the benefits of ADSL from the day it goes live," said Rowberry.
BT Openworld is also expected to announce the availability of its consumer service, although at the end of last month it said unprecedented demand for its ADSL service will mean customers may have to wait up to three months before installation is complete.
Industry regulator Oftel warned earlier this month that consumers in the UK are unwilling to pay the high cost of ADSL services, citing £13 per month as the average amount consumers would be prepared to accept. However, it added that it does expect a number of "serious internet users" to be happy to pay the current pricing to begin with, and that it expects costs to drop as competition in the market increases.
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