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BT signs up 100,000 broadband users in Jan

BT says around 100,000 more broadband Internet users hooked up to its network in January, putting it on target for one million by mid-year.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2003 17:54 IST

BT says around 100,000 more broadband Internet users had hooked up to its network in January, giving it over 500,000 in total and putting it on target for one million by mid-year.

BT stock was Europe's top telecoms gainer, rising 3.3 percent to 179-3/4 pence, with investors encouraged by the success of its drive to boost high-speed Internet adoption. The stock is also seen as a relatively safe bet if war breaks out in Iraq because of its steady and largely domestic income stream.

Pierre Danon, chief executive of BT's retail operation, said on Friday that getting to one million users would be relatively easy compared with reaching a long-term goal of having five million homes on the service by 2006.

He said monthly high-speed Internet prices of between 27 pounds and 30 pounds could eventually come down, but not in the short term.

"If you asked me: will this be your price for three years, perhaps not," he told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a breakfast meeting of executives in London. "Is it the right price for the coming year? Yes."

BT sells wholesale broadband access to its own Internet service provider, Openworld, as well as other ISPs. BT Retail has also started selling a cut-rate "no frills" broadband product for 27 pounds per month.

Danon would not comment on the exact sales figures for this product, but said it was broadly in line with the 10,000 connections a week BT had targeted.

As broadband becomes more common, BT hopes to make additional sales such as online music and gaming services, a wireless LAN (local area network) product that will "wire-up" the entire home, and even a home monitoring service that will send a text message if the house alarm system goes off.

A portable "Internet radio", as well as standard stereo systems which can play music downloaded from the Web, will go on sale within the next three months, Danon told the breakfast meeting hosted by corporate venture consultancy Edengene.

BT was also working with Britain's Pearson, the world's leading educational publisher, to develop educational applications for fast Internet in the home.

Danon said he didn't believe there would be one "killer application" that drove broadband take-up, but instead a variety of services that suited different people.

BT will report its third-quarter results next Thursday.

First Published: Feb 08, 2003 11:50 IST