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Tiscali UK is hopping mad after BT ran a newspaper ad under the banner "The truth about Tiscali's notquitesobroadband".

Furious execs have already fired off a letter to BT demanding that it doesn't repeat the ad, which they say includes "factual inaccuracies" about the ISP and suggests that it is "not truthful with its customers".

The ad, published in yesterday's Daily Mail read: "So you've seen you can get broadband from Tiscali for under £20 a month. Sounds goods doesn't it? Tiscali might have you believe that, but what you may not know is that their broadband is only up to three or five times faster than dial-up. Slowcoaches. But BT's £19.99 a month broadband is full speed, wow look at it go, broadband that's up to 10 times faster than dial-up."

Tiscali has already written to BT about the ad and its solicitor has written to the Daily Mail and major newspaper groups to voice concerns about the ad.

Said a Tiscali spokeswoman: "We're rather disappointed to see the BT advertisement 'The truth about Tiscali's notquitesobroadband' which appeared in the Daily Mail.

"The content of the advertisement contains factual inaccuracies about the Tiscali products. It also implies that Tiscali is not truthful with its customers about the speed of our range of broadband services, which is not the case.

"We are happy for any of our competitors to use comparative advertising, but this was not comparing like for like. We believe there is room for us all in the market and that BT as a supplier to Tiscali should be encouraging healthy competition and choice in the market."

No one at BT was available for comment at the time of writing.

BT launched its new £19.99 a month broadband product on Monday swiftly followed by a volley of fire as rival ISPs exposed the limitations of the service. The BT Broadband Basic service has a 1Gb a month usage limit, and the headline price is not what it seems, competitors say.

Although BT Broadband Basic costs £19.99 a month, the £80 up-front set-up cost means that for the first year punters must cough up a few pennies short of £320 for the service. Even subscribing to the telco's full no-frills, access only service - BT Broadband - only costs punters £324 for the first year.

Several ISPs, which offer full 512k broadband services with no usage caps, say that - with installation and hardware costs thrown in as part of their deals - they are even cheaper.

The kerfuffle that blighted the launch of BT's new product continued after BT Openworld boss Duncan Ingram was blasted for misleading punters over the cost of its new "no frills" basic service.

Interviewed on BBC radio, he said that the £19.99 product "makes us the cheapest for a full broadband experience, which is ten times faster. Quite a lot of all the other lower-priced services you talk to, are offering perhaps at best double normal dial-up, or perhaps two or three times."

But Sheffield-based ISP PlusNet, got the hump after it pointed out that it has been offering a full, uncapped 512k service for the last 20 months. And at £18.99 a month with up-front costs of £59.99, it is considerably cheaper than BT's basic service. ®

Related stories

PlusNet throws strop at BT cheapest broadband claim
Rival ISPs rubbish BT Broadband Basic
BT touts £20 capped broadband

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