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AOL UK and Freeserve welcome BT's DSL slash

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AOL UK and Freeserve could be on the verge of launching mass-market broadband services following today’s announcement by BT that it will slash the cost of wholesale DSL.

The UK’s leading ISPs have both welcomed BT’s announcement although both are still waiting to know the exact details of the telco’s new strategy.

Up until now both AOL UK and Freeserve have been reluctant to promote broadband as a mass market product because they believed the cost of DSL to be too high.

AOL UK chief exec Karen Thomson said: "This is a very positive announcement which we welcome. We are presently examining the details, but it's already clear that this takes us much closer to the dawn of Broadband Britain."

A spokesman for the ISP added that what BT has announced today is "truly very positive" but he reserved final judgement until he had seen the small print.

However, if today’s detail behind the announcement matches the headline figures then AOL UK could offer a mass market DSL service for under £30 a month later this year.

And it points to research that reveals that 85 per cent of its flat-rate narrowband users would like broadband – and 70 per cent of these are prepared to pay a premium for it.

Which suggests that a substantial part of AOL UK’s user base is prepared to make the move to broadband.

Freeserve has also signalled that it is ready to enter the broadband arena claiming that it will become the "number one choice for consumers in broadband".

Said John Pluthero, Freeserve chief exec: "Freeserve has lobbied long and hard for BT to reduce wholesale DSL pricing, and we can now offer broadband to consumers at a price that will drive high levels of take-up, just as we did when we were the first to provide free Internet access to the mass market.

"Our Dixons Group distribution channels and leading online customer base mean we can deliver broadband to Britain effectively, conveniently and quickly," he said.

Earlier today BT said it would slash the cost of wholesale DSL from £25 to just £14.75 a month in a bid to get a million users online by summer 2003. ®

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