Orange launched its free broadband packages in 2006 and while its latest package is not free, it is possible that it may represent a saving to some people. The new Home Max product offers a rate adaptive up to 8Mbps ADSL service, telephone line rental, evening and weekend call bundle, and a Livebox with second line for £24 a month.
The broadband service, while advertised as unlimited, does carry a fair use policy meaning it is not suitable for those wishing to download the whole Internet constantly for months on end, but should be suited to the average broadband user. Another fair use policy also covers the amount of calls made using the free calls bundled in the deal. The product carries an 18 month contract, and the Livebox is not yours to keep but is actually hired for a fee of £2.08 which is included in the £24 monthly total. A £1 surcharge is made if any payment method other than direct debit is used.
The second line featured in the product pages for Home Max is not a true second phone line, but rather a VoIP service that any normal handset can use by connecting to the Livebox.
For those who think they will find setting up the Livebox to be too much hassle, there is an option of paying £69.99 for a home visit where the service will be set-up. Orange has an online demo of how to set-up the service, so people can judge if they think they will need to get someone to do it for them. Technical and customer support is available to customers for the price of a national rate phone call (up to 7p a minute on a BT landline), but expert support for MAC OSX comes at a price of 50p a minute.
Orange does have a smaller package with a simple 6GB monthly download allowance called Home Starter costing £12 per month, which does not include telephone line rental but does include free evening and weekend calls.
The inclusion of line rental in the Home Max product does not mean Orange has switched to a full LLU service, but rather they are continuing with their shared unbundled services where available and using wholesale line rental (WLR) and CPS (Carrier Pre-Selection) to provide the line rental and calls parts of the packages. This should mean migration onto and off the service is probably smoother as the systems around shared LLU appear to be more stable.