BT said its consumer service will cost just £39.99 ($64) a month.
It will be backed with a mass-market broadband portal, created in
conjunction with BT’s content partners.
Over 50 content deals have been struck in the last three
months, said BT — and there are many more in the pipeline.
Four major computer firms, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Apple and
Intel, have agreed to pre-install BTopenworld on new PCs.
BTopenworld has already begun taking pre-orders for the
Early in 2001, BT plans to extend BTopenworld to provide
users with what it calls a Personal openworld Portal (PoP),
accessible from WAP mobile phones, multi-phones, PCs and TV.
Ben Andradi, chief operating officer of BTopenworld, said
the advent of broadband and mobile is creating a second Internet
wave that is faster, more cost-effective and compelling than the
“Research shows that a broadband customer will stay online four
times as long as a narrowband customer and spend nearly three
times as much on e-commerce,” said Andradi.
BTopenworld will be based on asymmetric digital subscriber
line (ADSL) technology, and at its launch will consist of
two high speed products, one for consumers and another for
small businesses. Each will have its own portal carrying
information, education and entertainment.
Lined up for consumer content are such providers as
eBay, Loot and QXL.com for auctions, UK-invest, Reuters, and
Screentrade for finance, and Amadeus, Landmark, OTC, Pearson
and Thomas Cook.com for travel.
Lined up for business content are Desktop Lawyer for legal
information, Silicon News, ZDNet and VNUNet for IT information,
and Kogan Page and Prestel Online for finance.
Currently, 26 per cent of the population in the U.K. are
within range of BT’s ADSL network which reaches 400 exchanges.
BT says one in three U.K. households and businesses will
be within range by mid-year.
At the July launch BTopenworld will be offered in London,
Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Edinburgh
and 20 other cities.
Initially, the service will operate at 512Kbps (256Kbps upstream).
At the end of the summer, customers will be able to upgrade to
a higher speed, with 1 or 2Mbps Ethernet connections.
BT will sell a full range of packages tailored to different
market sectors, including a local area network (LAN) product
and a teleworker package.