Sky-owned ISP UK Online is to refocus its service on micro-businesses, defined as having one to 10 employees, of which there are about four million in the UK.
Micro-businesses fall between the two stalls of low-priced, low-featured consumer services and full-blown high-price business packages, according to UK Online managing director Chris Stening.
UK Online's research suggested that micro-businesses want a few key features, including a reliable service, 24x7 support, security and low price.
The ISP has stopped short of providing service level agreements, which are a core feature of most business packages, but has made clear its service level targets on its website and in its terms and conditions.
The new service will provide 24x7 free phone technical support, with billing enquiry support operating from 8am to 8pm weekdays and 10am to 6pm weekends.
The basic service for £19.99 (A$47) a month provides downloads at up to 8Mbps and uploads at up to 768Kbps, 20 email addresses each with separate secure sign-in, and a year's subscription to McAfee's Internet Security Suite worth £49.99 (A$119).
For micro-businesses outside Sky's unbundled local loops the cost rises to £29.99 (A$71). The service requires a BT line and is subject to a £25 (A$59) activation fee.
Domain-hosting and easy-to-use website-building tools could form a later part of the service.
Stening assured UK Online's existing consumer subscribers that they would not be affected.
UK Online takes aim at micro-businesses
By Andrew Charlesworth on May 14, 2007 2:01PM