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BTopenworld play the smoke and mirrors game!
Wednesday 06 March 2002 13:53:00 by Andrew Ferguson

5th March saw the launch of BTopenworld's Plug and Go product range, i.e. Wires-only. We featured the pricing of this in our announcements along with other ISP's last week. Since then we've heard some interesing information.

As we said last week the free activation offer is subject to you buying the ADSL hardware from BTopenworld - but also it appears that their telesales staff have been advised to not actively encourage users onto the path of buying their own hardware - i.e. BTO really wants you to buy the Plug and Go but only using their hardware. To that effect it appears they are running a trial from 5th March to 31st May 2002 for people not buying the hardware from BTO. The only reason that I can think is that BTO arent prepared for supporting users with a wide range of hardware, which is an area perhaps a smaller ISP's helpdesk may be a lot better at.

An interesting twist to all this is that it also appears that if the customer buys their own hardware then the 12 month minimum contract period doesnt apply, i.e. buy hardware from BTO and you are locked in for 12 months, buy the same hardware from elsewhere and you arent. Confused - I'm not surprised. Perhaps the titles of the 3 products will help:
Home 500 Plug & Go: 12 month contract, £85 for hardware, free activation, £29.99 a month.
Home 500 Engineer Assisted: 12 month contract, £250 for hardware and activation, £29.99 a month.
Home 500 Plug & Go Line Only TrialNo minimum contract, £20 for activation, user buys own hardware £29.99/month.
Prices are believed to include VAT

On a final note of caution it has been brought to our attention that there has been a clarification of the terms and conditions for both products to reflect a new policy on bandwidth management. The T&C's can be seen here. The section of interest is 11.1.E of the "Terms and Conditions for BTopenworld broadband Home 500 Plug & Go" - this states:

11.1 You must take all reasonable precautions to ensure that no one (including you) uses the service:
(e) in any way which in our opinion is, or is likely to be, detrimental to the provision of the service to you or any of our customers;

Sections 15 & 16 cover BTO's right to withdraw your password and/or cease the service but hold you to the financial part of the contract.

Depending on your view point this short additional clause can mean a lot of things, protection from users who propagate viruses, or open relay mail servers, through to perhaps the start of people been warned for using the service too much.


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