01 June 1998

A NEW JOINT venture between @Home Network of the US and British cable operator ComTel could trigger a breakthrough in mass usage of the Internet in the UK. The duo are about to launch a fixed cost package for Internet access, inclusive of all telecoms charges. It will be priced between £30-£40 monthly - dramatically below other fixed cost services such as that offered by Demon Internet at £500 per month. The high cost of phone usage is thought to be a major barrier in domestic use of the Internet, currently around 5% per cent of all UK homes compared with over 20% in the US where local calls are free. The new service will also offer online news, computer games, CD-quality audio, and software downloads. A service for business is also under consideration, although a pricing structure has yet to be decided.