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Broadband sales surge ahead of DSL price cuts

Up from 3,000 to 8,000 a week. Yipee!

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BT Wholesale is reporting sales of ADSL connections have soared from 3,000 to 8,000 a week since the telco reduced the wholesale price of DSL connections.

From next Monday (April 1), BT Wholesale will reduce the entry-level wholesale price of broadband connections to its ISP customers by £10 to under £15 a month. In response to the cuts, ISPs have reduced the price of mass market DSL products to under £25 in some cases or £29.99 a month in the case of BTopenworld, the telco's broadband retailing arm.

Rebecca Webster, head of broadband marketing at BT Wholesale, said the increase in sales put the telco on course of meeting its aim to put in one million broadband connections in the UK over the next year. She wasn't prepared to detail the split in sales between different ISPs.

Reduced prices are the chief reason behind the surge in demand, but the introduction of a self-install version of BTopenworld DSL product, called Plug & Go, also help by reducing set-up charges.

Local loop Unbundling (LLU) was seen by many commentators as a way of accelerating the roll-out of ADSL services, but its progress - with only a reported 200 unbundled phone lines in the UK by the end of last month - has disappointed.

Webster said the investment to make Local Loop Unbundling is not available because of the downturn in the telecoms market, and she downplayed the importance of LLU in enabling the creation of "Broadband Britain".

BT Wholesale is looking at other technologies to provide broadband connections for customers out of reach of the 1,022 exchanges now ADSL-enabled. Among the technologies under review are the use of broadband wireless (mesh radio) connections in Wales, and the wider availability of broadband satellite connections throughout the UK, which was announced earlier this week.

BT has embarked on a multi-million pound advertising campaign to further boost broadband demand, targeting the consumer and small business markets. The push will included billboard and national newspaper advertising; and marketing campaigns, including the publication of a guide to help ISPs selling broadband to small business.

Broadband: the ultimate guide for small and medium enterprises explains how small businesses can benefit from broadband connections, for example by boosting the appeal of their Web sites or using the Internet to manage supplier relationships. ®

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