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No frills broadband could wipe-out ISPs

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BT Broadband - the no-frills access-only service from BT - could spell the death of ISPs, according to Forrester Research.

"ADSL Lite" products - services which separate broadband access from content - will "force 'me-too' ISPs and portals out of business and extend cablecos' problems in fighting ADSL's," the analyst firm reckons,

Forrester notes the problems that have beset those who have tried to marry the two such as AOL Time Warner, Vivendi Universal, and Terra Lycos and claim it's hard for an ISP to offer both the best content and the best access deal.

The answer, it seems, is to follow BT Retail's lead and let people pay for access while letting others supply content and services such as email and Web space.

This endorsement of BT's access-only approach comes as it begins a massive £23m advertising campaign to promote BT Broadband in a bid to sign up 500,000 customers to its service by next summer.

So, that's it then, no? Well, not quite. In April Analysts at JP Morgan took a completely different view of BT Broadband casting severe doubts over the introduction of a "no frills" service. They said the pricing of the access-only service - just £3 cheaper than full ISP services on offer from the likes of BTopenworld and Freeserve - might not be enough to sway punters to opt for the stripped down BT Broadband service.

Said the JP Morgan crew: "In our view, the discounted price...does not compensate for the lack of bundled content and services, notably email and web space."

You pays your money, you takes your choice. ®

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