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Onstar Europe - the information, entertainment and communications arm of General Motors Europe - has launched a two-way broadband satellite service in the UK and Ireland.

Aimed at business users "Beam" is available for single and multiple users and provides an always on, hi-speed connection to the Net.

Scottish-based Strategic Marketing Ventures (SMV) is the first outfit to resell the service in the UK.

Said Fraser Hay, CEO of SMV: "Whilst the government continues to battle with telecommunications and ADSL companies to extend our cable infrastructure to get the UK online by 2005, Beam is live and ready now.

"This technology revolutionises how businesses will operate online, and makes broadband a feasible option for all businesses," he said.

However, the service is not cheap. A one-off installation charge for both multiple and single PC users costs around £150.

Multiple PC users can also expect to pay £500 for connection to the service plus a monthly fee of £249.

Single PC users are excused from a connection fee but have to pay £500 instead for hardware. The monthly fee for the service costs £149.

All prices exclude VAT. Further details can be found at SMV's site broadband4uk.com.

Tiscali, BTopenworld and Aramiska are all expected to launch broadband satellite services by the end of the year. ®

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