British Telecom (BT) has entered the Internet price war, unveiling a range of packages that it claims will rival those available in the US.

The offers for home Internet users include a £15.25 per month fee for unlimited access at weekends and evenings, and a £29.25 per month fee for round-the-clock access. The range of offers, branded SurfTime, includes the cost of line rental and will be available from June 1.

BT’s move follows href="http://194.205.66.57/news/main_news_search.cfm?NewsID=1004">yesterday’s announcement by NTL - the UK’s biggest cable telephony company - that it will provide free Internet access from April 17.

BT was also shaken by news on Monday that search-engine AltaVista was providing href="http://194.205.66.57/news/main_news_search.cfm?NewsID=996">virtually-free Net access from May.

The SurfTime offer also follows a speech made yesterday by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he declared that every Briton should expect access to the Internet within five years. He welcomed NTL’s offer, and urged BT to follow suit.

He said: “It is likely the Internet will be as ubiquitous and normal as electricity is today. We cannot accept a digital divide for businesses or for individuals.”