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V21 touts cheapest broadband

But should you look this gift horse in the mouth?

ISP V21 today announced the launch of its broadband service, the cheapest available in the UK, offering subscribers a fast internet connection for just £19.99 a month.

But the service isn't that much cheaper than what's on offer from competitor PlusNet — its broadband package costs just a pound more at £20.99 per month, although the initial activation fee is higher.

To take advantage of either deal, users must sign up for one year. This tie-in clause may put people off, as smaller ISPs aren't known for their staying power.

"Users only pay by the month even though they sign up for a year, so if something should happen, which is purely hypothetical, then they would simply stop making monthly payments," said a spokesman at V21.

Available from 1 August, users will be required to pay £70.48 as a one-off installation fee as well as a modem charge of £94 unless they already have their own ADSL modem. In this area V21 actually costs more than PlusNet which charges an activation fee of £58.75 with its yearly contract or £70.50 for the monthly service.

Adding all these figures together, V21's claim to be the cheapest broadband provider looks a little weak — over a year there is only about £4 difference between its offering and PlusNet's. Still, every little helps.

V21 currently has around 40,000 subscribers to its internet services.

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