Internet service providers (ISPs) are warning consumers that they are unlikely to cut the cost of broadband following BT's reduction of monthly wholesale rental prices.
They claim that BT has clawed back the price cut through increases in other, less trumpeted charges.
Around 800,000 people have signed up for ADSL internet access, of which around half buy their services from ISPs that use BT's wholesale package.
But although the flat rate wholesale price for consumer broadband has been cut from £14.75 to £13 per month, the ISPs maintain that they will be marginally worse off.
AOL claimed that the charges, which include the cost per person each ISP pays to BT to activate a service, have risen from £25 to £50.
It also said that it will have to pay more to rent what is known as the central pipe, the technology through which data traffic flows.
In all, according to AOL, this represents a rise to ISPs of about £6 per person per year. "There is no price cut to pass on to the consumer," said a spokesman.
Freeserve, Tiscali and FairADSL all confirmed that they too have no plans to cut prices to consumers.
However, BT shrugged off the remarks. "We can't please all of the people all of the time," said a spokesman.
"But AOL is muddying the water by including what was a temporary price cut of three months for activation with a permanent price cut in the wholesale price.
"Some ISPs are already cutting prices because the wholesale price has come down."
BT also claimed that it had made technological breakthroughs that would help to roll out broadband in more rural areas.
The telco will use software to enable more exchanges to be linked together so that the costs of connecting them to the core BT network are reduced.
BT indicated that this will allow it to set trigger levels - which it claims represent the level of demand needed to make exchanges commercially viable - for a further 600 exchanges.
This will bring broadband within reach of 90 per cent of UK homes.
BT gave details for the first 200 of these exchanges, and the remainder will be announced by the summer.
The telco has also extended the reach of ADSL broadband from five to six kilometres from each exchange, giving access to another 600,000 people from June.
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