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BTopenworld is cutting the price of its broadband satellite service with the rollout of the technology throughout the UK.

The service, already trialled in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and Northern Ireland, allows companies in areas without wired broadband coverage to benefit from always-on Internet access and download speeds of 512kbps (or up to ten times faster than normal dial-up connections).

BTopenworld is partnering with Gilat Satellite Networks, a satellite networking (VSAT) specialist, to provide the service, which comes in two flavours. Business Satellite 500/1 allows a user to connect a single PC to the service, while Business Satellite 500/4 allows up to four PCs to be connected through a router supplied with that service.

BTopenworld has cut the monthly rental charge by up to 20 per cent, though the service is still more expensive than landline equivalents.

The monthly rental for the 500/4 multi-user product has been cut from £139.99 to £109.99 and the 500/1 single-user service monthly rental of £69.99 has been reduced to £59.99. There's a connection charges of £1,299 and £899 respectively for the services, both of which cover the purchase of the satellite dish and indoor broadband unit. All prices exclude VAT.

These subscription charge reductions will take effect from April 1, 2002 for new and existing customers.

The BTopenworld service will compete with broadband satellite service from the likes of Dutch-based Aramiska, which launched a satellite-based broadband business packages for SMEs costing £99 per month, last December. This service was extended to continental Europe last month with packages costing from €99 per month.

Earlier last December Bridge Broadband - part of IT and communications outfit Flexia plc - launched its broadband over satellite service.

There are no up-front charges for that service but higher subscription prices, which start at £159 (excluding VAT) per month.

Then there's Tiscali's delayed TiscaliSat service, which is due to launch this spring with monthly subscriptions expected at £59.99 per month for triallists. Tiscali was due to launch its service last year but delayed it till this spring to concentrate on the reorganisation of its UK business.

Lowlander

BTopenworld worked closely with development agencies to promote satellite broadband, during the initial pilot programmes in the Highlands and Islands and Northern Ireland. This model will now be followed across the UK.

BTopenworld is also working with SEEDA (South East England Development Agency) to accelerate the deployment of broadband satellite access to SME's, schools, doctors' surgeries and public service agencies in the South East.

And in the South West, BTopenworld has teamed up with the South West regional development authority, which plans to offer a £800 voucher for qualifying organisations (including ISPs) "willing to participate in the evaluation and appraisal of broadband satellite". ®

Related Stories

Tiscali sat service goes live in March
Aramiska opens UK broadband satellite kimono
Bridge offers UK satellite broadband service
Blair backs broadband
BTopenworld charges £900 for satellite broadband service
Broadband by satellite gets a boost

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