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Broadband-in-a-box from BT

Scheme cuts out two-week installation wait

In yet another bid to get people to sign up to its broadband service, Openworld, BT is set to unveil its broadband-in-a-box product, designed to make digital access to the internet quicker and easier.

Under the existing scheme, broadband subscribers often have to wait for about two weeks from the date of signing up for their service to be installed but, with broadband-in-a-box, in theory it could be up-and-running immediately.

The new scheme should eliminate the need for an engineer to install the ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service by allowing the customer to hook up their own high-speed ADSL modem, such as the one pictured — that's the 'in-a-box' part of the deal — and then BT simply turns on the broadband connection.

By saving installation costs, subscription prices for broadband are also likely to fall.

But BT said it had not yet set any price guidelines for the new scheme and warned a small charge would replace the installation fee for any costs incurred by BT for making changes "at its end".

Last week, BTopenworld announced its trial scheme to offer half-price installation fees, until 31 December, to new broadband subscribers, reducing the cost of the home500 package from £75 to £39.99.

"Any new service which makes it easier for consumers to enjoy broadband at more competitive prices has to be a benefit," said a spokesperson at telco watchdog Oftel. "The bigger the [customer] base the more competition, and this will eventually push prices down."

Trials of the new do-it-yourself product are underway, but it will not be widely available until next year.

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