BT Retail is dangling the carrot of a mobile broadband dongle in front of small & medium business customers as an extra incentive to sign up for their BT Business Total Broadband packages.
The packages that are eligable are Option 2 (£26.99 per month) and Option 3 (£40.50 per month), both offer unlimited access and a wireless hub and 500 minutes of BT Openzone wireless hotspot access. The downside to the free dongle being that you are required to enter into a 24 month contract. A health check for a single PC is also included in the deal, but must be taken up within 28 days of ordering the service.
The mobile broadband is provided via Vodafone and carries a 1GB data allowance, so will be suitable for some web browsing and using email when out and about, or if for some reason the ADSL broadband were to fail you could use the mobile dongle as a temporary backup.
Existing BT business customers can get the same deal, but only if they extend their contract by another 24 months. While some will suggest BT is abusing its position by offering such a lengthy lock-in, this is not very different to many other providers who offer upgrades and other incentives as a way of getting people to agree to a new contract, and thus keeping churn levels as low as possible.
For existing BT Business Total Broadband customers there is another change on the way. While up to 8Meg broadband has been around since 2006 from BT Retail, those who elected to stay on a fixed speed product for stability will be finding themselves moving to the rate adaptive products. Customers who will be affected should have received a letter.
"The change is necessary due to the withdrawal of our Fixed Speed broadband products, and your upgrade will take place during November or December. There may be a slight interruption to your service during the changeover, with your connection stabilising soon after. Speeds may vary for up to 10 days in order to optimise available line speeds."Excert from letter to fixed speed BT Business Total customers
We should point out that the comments about the speed varying for ten days may be misleading. Under the rate adaptive products the ADSL modem will always connect at the best speed possible for the current line conditions and the set of parameters it is told to use. Thus while many will see speeds stabilise to a great extent, speeds can and do vary beyond the ten day period. For those on highly unstable lines there are fixed speed profile options available on the up to 8Meg products. We have a FAQ section that covers the common questions people have on this topic.
There is an upside to this change, many people will actually see speeds improve, and fairly simple wiring changes like adding an I-Plate can increase speeds on the up to 8Meg products or improve stability.
This change actually reflects what is happening at the BT Wholesale level, with the Home 500, 1000 & 2000 products coming to an end. Many broadband providers only provide rate adaptive connections already, but BT Retail has on longer lines often opted to only provider a fixed 0.5Mbps connection.