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Pipex launches four new ADSL products
Tuesday 20 April 2004 23:50:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Pipex launched on 20th April a range of new products, mainly designed to cater for the light or occasional user. The launch of a 150kbps and 250kbps product is not perhaps major news, as it has been done before, but Pipex are offering a bit more in that the activation is free, and users are supplied with a free modem. Pipex's Xtreme Solo product range can be found here.

The new products are: (all prices include VAT)

  • Solo 150 for £15.99 a month. This offers unlimited bandwidth, but a maximum downstream speed of 150kbps, and an upstream of up-to 70kbps. This is designed as an entry level ADSL service.
  • Solo 250 for £17.99, with 3 email boxes rather than the 1 of Solo 150. The downstream speed is up-to 250kbps, and upstream is at up-to 128kbps. Again it is unmetered.
  • Solo 500 lite at £19.99. This is the current standard ADSL broadband service speed, but with a 1 GigaByte (GB) per month bandwidth allowance. Extra allowance can be purchased at £1.95 per GB. The limit means its more suited to people who perhaps use the Internet for just email and web browsing, with the occasional streamed video.
  • Solo 1000 lite at £28.99. This product runs at upto 1000kbps (1Mbps) downstream, but has a 2GB per month allowance. Again extra GB's can be purchased at £1.95 per GB.

The standard Pipex Solo 500 and Solo 1000 products are still available, and to date have proved very popular, contributing to an overall figure of 110,000 Pipex subscribers.

The inclusion of a free modem, and the free activation is very welcome, and perhaps removes the largest barrier to many peoples take-up of ADSL, and then hopefully the faster services as they discover what the world of broadband can offer. One interesting aspect is that the services are actually provisioned via the standard BT IPStream product range, with Pipex handling the various speed limits at the ISP end. The benefit of this is that someone wary of ADSL can subscribe to a 150 service, then very easily upgrade to the Solo 500 or Solo 500 Lite packages at a later date.

The continued growth of the 'mid-range' speed services, is one of great debate. Many commentators are building the pressure on BT Wholesale to increase the speeds available to home users, and it appears BT is moving that way with Home 2000 on the horizon at last. Though the actual retail market appears to be moving the other way! The always on, 150kbps services can provide email and web browsing, but are hardly adequate for what many would call broadband applications currently, let alone the content and services that companies are trying to get people to use.

The main point is that the marketing material needs to make it clear that the 150kbps and 250kbps services are not going to provide the same wow factor as the 0.5Mbps and 1Mbps services. Put simply broadband video really begins to look impressive at 400kbps and higher. Otherwise there is large risk that user confidence will be shaken, and people will feel that broadband is nothing much different to dialup, other than you can leave it switched on. We do note that Pipex does make some suggestions as to what each product is not really suitable for, and the product table makes it fairly clear as to what each product comes bundled with.

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