BT has launched its first ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service for UK businesses under the BTopenworld brand, which includes pay-as-you-go access to Microsoft Office applications.
BTopenworld, BT's broadband ISP division, said the service will provide always-on high-speed access through regular phone lines at speeds of between 512Kbps and 2Mbps. Previously businesses required leased lines or ISDN to get similar connection speeds.
The service, priced at £99.99 a month with a £260 installation fee, enables internet access for up to four PCs, connected via ethernet cabling. Customers can add other PCs via a Lan connection at no extra cost. A Macintosh version of the product is available.
Subscribers get 10 email addresses, and access to news and information from a range of content providers. They can also access Application Station, a service that provides pay-as-you-go access to software including Microsoft Office for between £4 and £25 a month (see details below).
BTopenworld had planned to launch a consumer package this month, priced at £39.99 a month, but confirmed earlier reports on vnunet.com that the service would be delayed until at least the end of August. BT's wholesale division has delayed consumer service rollout while it conducts intensive testing.
A BTopenworld spokesman said: "BTopenworld like other ISPs is at BT's mercy while we wait for the approval to launch the consumer service. It will probably not be available until the end of August as wholesale BT is testing the system."
BTopenworld said it has received more than 100,000 pre-orders for its ADSL services, but would not divide this figure into business and consumer customers. Its services are restricted by geography - BT claims its ADSL network currently covers around 500 exchanges, catering for about 35 per cent of the UK population.
The Application Station packages are:
Bronze: offers access to one Microsoft Office title, two Microsoft Office Training titles, an electronic library and financial information. It is priced at an introductory rate of £4 a month (normally £6 a month) with a 30-day free trial.
Silver: offers the same as Bronze but with two Microsoft Office titles, four Microsoft Office Training titles and a stock market email report for an introductory rate of £12 a month (normally £18 a month) with a 30-day free trial.
Gold: offers the same but with four Microsoft Office titles, 10 Microsoft Office Training titles, translation services and a dictionary for an introductory rate of £25 a month (normally £38 a month) with a 30-day free trial.
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