BT Openworld, the Internet division of BT is to launch a USB ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) consumer service for Macintosh users.

Alcatel will supply the Mac drivers to BT Ignite - BT's wholesale supplier of network services - on February 1, 2001. Testing the drivers and setting up a helpdesk will take BT Openworld a month. BT expects to launch its consumer USB service for Macs on March 1.

ADSL transmits digital information at a high bandwidth over existing phone lines. BT's USB ADSL consumer service will have speeds of up to 500K to the Macintosh and 250K back. The service will cost £39.99 per month for home users.

Head of broadband product marketing at BT Openworld, Chris Simmons said: "We are looking at launching a faster service but are looking to [parent company] BT to launch that service."

Registration is no longer necessary. BT Openworld claims it should take three weeks from ordering for the service to be installed.

Simmons continues: " The feedback from customers has been overwhelming. Those who already have ADSL using ethernet absolutely love it – they would break your arm if they knew you were going to take it away! That's the sort of response we've got."

He warns against downloading existing Mac drivers from Alcatel's Web site, as these are not officially supported by BT Openworld.