20/05/2002

Btopenworld clears the path to broadband business

BTopenworld is unveiling a series of initiatives designed to accelerate the move towards "Broadband Britain".

The plans, which are to be announced at the company's Broadband Summit in London today, aim to remove barriers to uptake, and educate the market on the benefits of the high-speed Internet.

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) - which currently has the largest number of business broadband users in the UK - has divided its plans into several categories.

Firstly, the company is donating 800 lines as part of a series of Internet-focused initiatives, worth over £1 million, over the next two years. A significant proportion of this will be dedicated to the promotion of broadband awareness and uptake.

In an effort to bridge the digital divide, BTopenworld will equip community groups, and selected small businesses with broadband Internet access and equipment free of charge. To complement this, the company has created a Broadband Ambassadors Programme, awarded to businesses that can play a key role in evangelising the high speed Internet in their region or sector.

In order to support businesses in non-ADSL enabled areas, the company has also announced a new rental option for satellite broadband, bringing in new contract terms, enabling customers to spread the up-front costs for satellite over two or three years.

To gauge the progress of Broadband Britain, the company is also launching a quarterly "Broadband Index" showing the rate of uptake among businesses across the UK. This will highlight the country¹s broadband hotspots, as well as the areas where greater education needs to take place.

Alison Ritchie, CEO of BTopenworld, said: "Despite real success in the area of broadband uptake over the last year, still under 5% of small and medium enterprises in the UK are taking advantage of this technology. We're committed to taking it up the curve from this point until it becomes as much a business utility as electricity and water.

"The first stage of this process is to ensure that broadband is widely available. Our immediate plans are therefore to remove as many barriers to uptake as possible, be they down to geography, cost or lack of education."

(CL)


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