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BT will dominate the broadband market in the UK if it is allowed to proceed unchecked with its no-frills, access-only product BT Broadband.

Independent research commissioned by Freeserve found that BT could end up with three quarters of all DSL subscribers in the UK by the end of 2003.

With such a massive slice of the DSL subscriber base, ISPs such as Freeserve, AOL UK and others would be left to fight for the scraps.

If the prediction for such market domination proves correct, it's unclear how this would shape up against the Government's own stated aim for the UK to have the "most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005".

Part of the criticism currently being thrown at BT is that its BT Broadband product is charged via people's phone bill.

And since the phone bill is often accompanied by marketing material flogging other BT services, ISPs claim this gives BT Retail unfair advantage in marketing its broadband product to more than 20 million customers in the UK.

Even the UK's leading ISPs, such as Freeserve and AOL UK, are unable to compete on this same basis.

The report by an independent research outfit concludes: "Our analysis implies that BT expects to dominate the DSL segment, with a share of 74 per cent of subscriptions in June 2003. Marketing via the blue bill...will significantly strengthen BT's position in the DSL segment."

Last week, Freeserve lodged a complaint with Oftel alleging that BT is exploiting its "monopoly position" within the fixed line telephony market to flog BT Broadband.

Freeserve also alleged that BT Retail has "unmatchable advantages" against ISPs. ®

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Freeserve in legal fight against Oftel

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