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Virgin.net is prepared to go that little bit further to secure punters for its broadband service.

Earlier this summer the ISP - a JV between the Virgin Group and cableco NTL - teamed up with local campaigners in Eccleston, Lancashire, who were working towards getting their exchanges upgraded to ADSL as part of BT Wholesale's pre-registration system.

If enough people register, then BT will upgrade the exchange.

Eccleston campaigner Steve Merry decided to contacted some 18 ISPs to ask them if they could offer any additional incentives to stimulate demand in his village.

Virgin.net and One.tel were the only two to offer something just for the folk in Eccleston.

In the case of Virgin.net, it offered to donate £10 to charity for each punter who eventually signs up to Virgin.net. It's also made available other offers - such as a year's free broadband for one lucky winner - all of which helped generate additional interest for broadband in the village.

Steve told The Register: "These ISPs have been fantastic - so supportive. ISPs need to be more proactive."

Eccleston is due to have its exchange converted to broadband next month.

A spokesman for BT Wholesale added: "Any innovative approach to increasing overall demand has got to be welcome." ®

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