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Ofcom must act on £50 broadband 'barrier'

Activation fee is 'block to mass acceptance' says ISP

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PlusNet has called on BT Wholesale to cut the up-front cost of signing up to ADSL claiming the £50 fee is the "single biggest block to mass acceptance of broadband". Unless BT moves to slash the cost of the activation fee, the Sheffield-based ISP wants communications regulator Ofcom to intervene and force the UK's dominant fixed line telco to act.

"The real thing that is preventing mass take-up of broadband so far, is the disproportionate cost of getting started," said Marco Potesta, marketing director at PlusNet.

"BT Wholesale's £50 activation fee is an immense barrier that we would like to see removed. Ofcom must act to see that the fee is either completely removed or considerably reduced. Only when this is done will we see broadband take-up double in the UK," he added.

PlusNet is one of a number of ISPs in the UK to highlight the high cost of service activation. Only last month BT was forced to slash the wholesale migration costs of its DSL services, following complaints by rivals Thus and Tiscali.

At the time Tiscali boss Mary Turner said that this was "only the first hurdle" and that the ISP was now looking for similar cost-cutting for DSL activation, "which is still far too high at £50". A spokesman for BT Wholesale defended the fee, which represented a "true reflection of how much it costs [to activate a DSL line]".

No one from Ofcom was available for comment at the time of writing. ®

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