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BT tests fast internet satellite service
By Steve Barrett, London, Revolution UK Online, April 15, 2002

Telecoms giant BT is to trial a fast internet satellite product that could hook up areas currently out of reach of DSL broadband and cable services.

The product, which will be available from late-May for six months, will be marketed to service providers by BT Wholesale, with the proviso that these companies are prepared to make it available in non ADSL-enabled areas.

The service will initially be aimed at small businesses and high-use residential customers, but if it is successful, it could be rolled out to the rest of the UK – including rural areas.

The service downloads at speeds of up to 256Kb per second and offers always-on delivery of emails and selected web pages. Higher speed downloads – up to 4Mb per second – will be available on a pay-per-use basis, billed through the service providers. The return path is via a conventional phone line.

According to BT Wholesale, the trial wholesale price is likely to be similar to its existing price for consumer broadband connections of £14.75 a month. Connection, including equipment and installation of the dish, is expected to be “less than £400”.

BT’s wholesale price was cut from £25 at the start of April, since when orders have run at more than 10,000 a week, principally for the self-install product.

BT Retail is set to unveil its “no-frills” connection-only broadband product next week, at roughly £2-3 less than the existing £29.99 a month tariff.