In recent times the govenment has been banging its drum about how fast UK broadband services are and what good value they represent. We said at the time we weren’t convinced they were on entirely solid ground with this, but two developments today could help to change that significantly.
First up is NTL and its announcement addresses speed with the rather exciting news that it secretly held successful ADSL2+ trials during February. ADSL2+, as the name suggests, is the next generation of DSL technology and last month the company managed to consistently supply download rates of up to 18Mbit/sec. Yes, 18Mbit! (and we thought BT we flying when it announced 8Mbit trials last week).
The most obvious use for ADSL2+ (apart from the mischievous ones you all have in your heads right now) is in the delivery of high-definition TV channels, so given NTL’s prominent role in supplying digital broadcasting the trials make a lot of sense.
The downside of ADSL2+ (or G.992.5 as it is also known) is that rates drop off significantly over distance and anywhere more than 2.5km from an enabled exchange will see no improvement over existing broadband speeds. NTL does boast, however, that 95 per cent of its network is within half a kilometre of subscribers' homes so (as is usual with DSL) it once again seems only those living in relatively remote areas are going to suffer.
Obviously there is no role out date for this one and I doubt whether the company has even looked into pricing yet, but I think it is fair to say the next 18 months should be pretty exciting.
Secondly, we have Bulldog who has taken it upon itself to single-handedly address the value side of the equation. It is offering new customers a 30 per cent saving on its 4Mbit/sec broadband telephone services for up to 12 months with connection fees from £1 and no long term contract.
The impact this has on its price plan is quite remarkable. At entry level now are a £10.75 per month pay-as-you-go 4Mbit package called Start@ctive which includes a home phone line with 400 minutes of online time and a £14.75 per month package called Call@active which offers the same deal but with unlimited local and UK national calls.
Above this, for £19.50, is a 4Mbit/sec unlimited broadband package (that’s right, no caps!) called Inter@ctive, while at £28.50 is Super@ctive, (you guessed it) an unlimited 4Mbit/sec package with unlimited UK and National calls.
For business users, Bulldog Pro@ctive provides an unlimited 4Mbit/sec connection and company phone line for £25.50 and topping it off is Pro@ctive Plus which adds to the Pro@ctive package by including unlimited UK local and national calls for £36.75.
The only snag is a Bulldog phone line is required which has a line charge of £10.50 including VAT per month to replace your BT line, but all existing telephone numbers can be transferred and you'll have no BT line rental charges anymore. It seems a small price to pay (no pun intended!). You have to move fast though, the offer only runs until 31 March.