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ISPs left in limbo over ADSL price cut hints

Lack of clarity leads to confusion

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BT has been accused of leaving ISPs in limbo the future of wholesale prices for broadband.

There's speculation that price cuts could be on the way following a meeting earlier this week in which BT Wholesale met ISPs to discuss future plans for ADSL services in the UK.

One insider told The Register that BT had said that pricing was "under review" and picked up several hints that price cuts were in the pipeline. So much so, at least one ISP is thinking about "pre-emptive price cuts" ahead of any possible formal announcement by BT.

However, in what appears to be symptomatic of BT's lack of clarity on the matter, another ISP felt prices would be left as they were - or could even rise. While another ISP we spoke to thought that any hints of price reviews related to potential new services such as BT's 256kbs and 1Mb/s service.

The picture, among ISPs at least, is one of confusion. And if there's confusion among ISPs, then there are concerns that this could spill over to potential consumers who may feel it is better to hold off signing up to broadband in the hope that prices might come down.

When asked about potential price cuts, BT says that it is "always reviewing prices". This is stating the bleeding obvious (most companies continually review prices after all), but ISPs are looking for something more concrete from the dominant telco.

Clarity and firm information, they argue, will help them plan their marketing campaigns to sell more broadband connections. Equivocation on BT's part serves only to muddy to the waters and could hamper progress to deliver broadband.

A spokesman for BT insisted the company was "open and transparent" and insisted it "did not set out to cause uncertainty".

"We will tell the market [about any new prices] once a decision is made," he said.

In the meantime, though, confusion, speculation and uncertainty reign. ®

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