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It's not the economics, stupid

BT says cost is not a big deal with broadband

Sixty-five percent of non-broadband business users, according to BT, are reluctant to sign up to broadband services because they don't know enough about them. Only 16 percent cited cost as a reason.

But for home users and small businesses cost is still a priority and BT will now have to decide how to target businesses and home users separately, addressing the concerns from both sides.

BTopenworld's broadband summit, held on Friday, highlighted why it says many people still haven't switched to always-on internet connections, but BT will have to be careful how it markets its services to residential and small business customers.

The debate over broadband pricing has been going on for some time, but according to BT, price isn't the reason for slow take up in the business sector — ignorance is.

In a recent PC Advisor poll, readers gave an overwhelming thumbs-down to BT's new £30-a-month price, with more than three-quarters of voters saying it was still too expensive.

"The priorities for broadband home users are obviously different to [those of] businesses," said a spokesman at rival broadband service provider NTL.

"We agree ignorance is a problem among home and business users, [but] price has always a fundamental concern for home consumers," said NTL.

Telco watchdog Oftel has played a major part in creating a competitive environment for broadband service providers.

"The rules are to determine that people are being targeted fairly," said a spokesman at Oftel. "Raising awareness is one thing, using personal information, such as billing details, to do that is quite another."

On Friday it released some strict guidelines on how BT could raise awareness of the advantages of broadband, and other internet services, to home users.

"BT must not use billing information of its telephony customers to target its marketing of internet services," said Davis Edmonds, director general at Oftel. "Other operators do not have access to this extensive detailed information and it gives BT an unfair marketing advantage."

BTopenworld has signed up around 600,000 broadband customers.

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