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UK sends £1bn down cyber drain

~ households could save over 300% each on Web access, research shows ~

The UK is wasting almost £1bn on Internet access every year according to research by Myinternetpass, which shows the value of switching providers.

The south-east of England stands to save most, £133m, by switching to the best-value Internet Service Provider*. London would save £122m whilst the north-west, with the third highest number of connected households would save £114m.

Official Government statistics state each of the UK’s 11m connected homes currently spends an average of 10 hours per week online**. This has been calculated to cost each home £217, or the nation £1.89bn a year.

The total bill would be reduced to under £1bn if all homes switched to the best-value option. Households with pay-as-you-go packages stand to save most and could slash their bill by over 300%, to £78 from an average of £270. Households on unmetered packages would save £63 a year.

Phillip Glyn, managing director at Myinternetpass said: “Most people are aware of the financial benefits of switching utility or mobile providers, and the same applies to Internet access. In many cases they could save more by switching ISPs, which is a less complicated procedure. If UK homes all switched to a better-value ISP, or changed to a more suitable package, the cost savings would be tremendous.”

(237 words)

Notes to editors

*Myinternetpass offers 24/7 pre-paid Internet access at 0.5p/minute, at least half as expensive as the UK’s six largest ISPs’ pay as you go rates and the best value access overall. Its unmetered access is also less expensive than the rates charged by these ISPs, which control 81% of the market. Myinternetpass is the single best value ISP according to the UK households’ average Internet usage figures described in the OFTEL report (see below). Independent money saving expert and broadcaster Martin Lewis also rates Myinternetpass as the best value Internet access option for 5½ – 23 hours usage per month, with the 2000 minute card option (www.moneysavingexpert.com).

**The ONS (Office of National Statistics) details the number of homes in each area of the UK and in April 2003 revealed 45% (over 11m) UK households were online. OFTEL in May 2003 detailed the proportion of homes with dial up Internet access, and of those how many have metered (per-minute) and how many have unmetered (i.e. a fixed monthly fee) packages. It also described the average time spent online per week for households with each kind of package, as well as the market shares of the largest ISPs.

N.B. The research and projected savings don’t apply to broadband users, estimated by OFTEL to comprise 17% of all online UK households.

About Myinternetpass

Myinternetpass cards are to Internet access what pre-paid vouchers are to mobile telephony. The pre-paid cards offer the UK’s best-value Internet access** and are available to buy from retailers nationwide, including Balfour Convenience Stores, or as a virtual card, from www.myinternetpass.com.

Myinternetpass cards cost £10. They offer two options for surfing the net: 30 days of unmetered access for heavy users, or 2000 minutes for lighter users, valid over a 3 month period. Each card is supplied with a unique username, password and freephone access number which is inputted into any home computer’s built-in Internet connection software.

Other benefits of the cards include: No contract, or cancellation period; No additional call charges on phone bills, or other hidden costs; No software to load; The flexibility to change between tariffs; Portability - a user can enter details onto any PC in the UK; Multiple cards can be used on a single computer in shared accommodation and no credit history or personal information is required.

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