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1Mbps broadband for just £35 a month?
Thursday 12 December 2002 18:18:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Fancy the idea? Well if you are an existing HomeChoice user then this is an offer that is open to you at this time. HomeChoice Broadband is a Video on Demand (VoD) and Internet Access provider, who make use of the ADSL services from BT Wholesale to offer VoD and Internet access on a standard BT phone line.

HomeChoice has always had a 115kbps Internet access package, and has been working on a 512kbps service for some time. The news that a 1Mbps package will be available at only £35/month is a nice surprise. The 1Mbps is possible because the HomeChoice service uses a 2Mbps ADSL line and when you are not using the Video on Demand feature most of the bandwidth is unused, obviously if using the Video on Demand the Internet access speed will drop but continue to work. The previous service used an RS232 link to your computer, but to handle the high speeds of the 1Mbps service they have produced a USB dongle. The main service limitations at this time are an upstream speed of 96kbps and that the service is NAT'd. The NAT may produce problems for some users, but the vast majority of users will have no problems.

Why is this only available to existing users? Well a very good reason, HomeChoice is looking to expand their market, and with the current BT network product expanding any further would not be commercially viable. Fortunately regulatory changes in the UK and improvements in technology have created a suitable path. To this effect a brand new HomeChoice service is due to start trials between April and September 2003, the trial for the service will be in North West London. The new service will be built around various unbundled wholesale services that BT just did not offer 2-3 years ago.

The pricing of the 1Mbps service, very much hits NTL and Telewest's pricing head on, and will further strengthen the calls by users on the standard BT IPStream Home product range for a lower priced 1Mbps service. Hopefully this new fusion of traditional broadcasting and Internet access will continue to develop and grow, it is one area of broadband where the UK is at the forefront.


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