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'Landline-free' broadband launched
A new broadband service has been launched that does not require a landline in the home in order to operate, internet provider UK Broadband has announced.
The internet service provider has unveiled a new service at the Tate Modern in London, called Relish, which will supply the capital with what it says is "fibre-fast speeds" of internet access for customers.
Fibre-optic is regarded as "superfast" broadband, and that is the name given to an internet speed that can exceed 30Mbit/s.
The Relish service consists of several different products that include a traditional router, but which only needs to be plugged into a power source before it can be used to access the internet, eliminating the need for a landline in order to gain web access.
Relish also includes a mobile service, where users carry a small device called a "pocket hub", which gives 4G access when carried around London.
Relish said they were working to continue increasing coverage across the capital and the UK in the future.
The company also announced plans aimed at small and larger businesses.
Nicholas James, the CEO of UK Broadband said: "These are game-changing products in our view because you need no landline, it's next day delivery - so you can be up and running really quickly and it's transparent pricing so you get what you pay for."
The service works on a pay monthly scheme, with users getting the router for free if they choose to sign up for a year in advance, and each plan comes with unlimited data.
The mobile unit costs £35 followed by a monthly fee dependent on the data plan chosen.
The mobile unit uses Relish's own 4G network within London, the company confirmed, and when out of coverage areas reverts to a 3G service provided by mobile network Three.
Data plans are available from £10 for a 1GB of data.
"We think that the combination of transparency and convenience is something which makes ours a stand-out product in the market, and that's what we're launching," Mr James said.
According to a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) that was announced alongside the Relish products, more than £150 million is lost in "landline tax" by households across London, with 47% of residents in central London saying they would prefer to not have a landline as part of their broadband deal.
Mr James also addressed the issue of customers who already had a landline, but would like to leave their current plan - s omething that was likely to be common among those in Relish's current catchment area.
"I think what they've got to be looking at is when their contract comes up for renewal, do they want to take out another contract or do they want to move to a more flexible provider, because we're more flexible," he said.
"We don't tie you into long-term contracts."
The Relish home broadband system can be unplugged and moved at any point as it does not rely on a landline, and Mr James thinks this is a key selling point for internet users.
"The thing is they've already got broadband, they've already got a landline.
"So the fact that you don't need to put one in is not such a big issue for them because they've already got it.
"So I think for someone looking to change we'd be saying it's the convenience of the flexibility of it, and the fact that if you're going to move you're probably better off on a service such as ours.
"We are also probably cheaper than what they're paying at the moment if they had the landline and broadband together."
Potential users have been instructed to enter their postcode on the Relish site in order to see if they are within the coverage area.
The announcement comes after a report released in April by comparison site uSwitch.com found that a street in Essex was receiving broadband 30 times slower than the national average, and that only 15% of the UK had access to a broadband connection of 30mbit/s or higher.