U.K. telco BT has just announced “Dedicated Connection”, a new service designed to make sure you get the fastest home broadband connection all the time, no matter how many people are using your connection.
It’s certainly timely, with so many of us working from home or sheltering in place at the moment. And in the British telecommunications world, it’s an unusual offering.
It works by introducing a second line into the home so that your work video calls won’t be interrupted because other family members are using the original connection for Netflix or gaming, say.
Of course, it’s no surprise that a second line would make things simpler (in fact, in a survey recently, 45% of people said it would improve home life), but the offputting feature has usually been the price. That’s not low here, but it’s geared to be more affordable than much of the competition.
For this Dedicated Connection, BT is installing the line free, with no connection fee (this is usually $175, that is, £140), for a start. This second line is available to any customers, not just current BT customers.
The cost is $75 (£59.99) a month for the service, though there’s a discount for BT customers of $12.50, £10 a month. For that, you get that free installation and connection, an advanced hub router, dedicated set-up and a Keep Connected Promise. This means that if there’s an issue and your broadband fails, BT will send out a 4G mini-hub to get you back online straight away.
Although it’s not cheap, it’s an alternative to a business broadband line. If your working from home situation looks like it will continue once the lockdown is over, it could be a valuable addition. And, unusually for BT, it’s a set-up which doesn’t require you to take out a new phone line.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division said: “Our new Dedicated Connection service is specifically designed to provide additional reassurance for consumers, regardless of their existing provider. It will allow them to double the connectivity potential in their home, providing a single connection they can use for activities such as working from home, gaming or online schooling – enabling them to get a reliable connection without disruption.”
The rival cable and other phone services will see this as something of a challenge, so expect them to respond with their own offers in the coming months. But the fact that BT is not limiting this to its own customers will certainly add to the appeal.
It comes at a time when many are turning to 5G wireless routers instead, to offer a fast, solid connection without the cost of a new landline. But until 5G is more widespread, this is not an option to everyone and BT’s waiving of the installation and connection costs may be a deciding factor for some.
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