Consumers in the UK say they are unwilling to pay the high cost of high-speed internet access services, research from industry regulator Oftel has found.
A survey conducted by Mori in May found that 40 per cent of fixed telephone line customers were interested in ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) services but were not prepared to pay current prices, according to Oftel.
The average amount consumers are prepared to pay for ADSL services is £13 per month, said Oftel. "Add to this the average £10 subscription they would have had to pay for unmetered access, and it is still short of the £40 some of these services are being marketed at (such as BT Openworld)," said the watchdog.
Check out our essential guide to ADSL services.
However, Oftel has said it does expect many "serious internet users" to be happy to pay the current pricing to begin with, adding that prices should begin to drop as competition in the market increases.
"We expect that market forces will drive the cost down," said a spokesman. "Once systems are up and running smoothly, we are sure prices will drop. They should begin to drop within months rather than years."
According to ISP Zen Internet, the current cost of ADSL is necessary to ensure that the technology is provided successfully. Ross McWilliam, operations director at Zen Internet, said: "It not surprising that consumers want ADSL at a low cost as everyone now thinks that internet access is a no-cost option.
"Unfortunately, it isn't. BT and the ISPs offering ADSL need to invest a considerable amount of money and resources into their networks. Inevitably as a result, ADSL will cost more than most private customers are willing to pay, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for."
McWilliam expects costs to drop during the next two years, but said it is important that "the base level isn't set so low that it hampers the efficient growth of the internet backbone across the country".
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