BT Openworld, British Telecom's Internet division, is launching a "professional" Internet-access service supporting Mac OS X 10.2 this December.

The service will allow Macs or PCs to be connected on the same broadband connection without configuration – this is known as "auto sensing".

In an exclusive interview with Macworld, Tony Harris, president of business Internet services at BT Openworld, claimed the service would have "exciting new features", but he was reluctant to release any further details until closer to the launch.

Mac support Harris was keen to talk up BT’s commitment to Macs. BT’s multi-user Ethernet products already support Mac OS X 10.2. The telecom giant’s entry-level single-user ADSL (Asymetric Subscriber Digital Line) is Mac OS X 10.1 compatible, and will support Mac OS X 10.2 by the end of November.

BT is really pushing ADSL, Harris explained. He added: "BT is promoting broadband at the moment with the advert 'Broadband Is Coming'."

"We’ve discovered that a lot of people don’t know what is meant by broadband. There is a lack of awareness of what broadband is and what benefits it brings."

Advantages, according to Harris, include reduced costs. He claims broadband is cheaper than ISDN or a dial-up Internet connection.

Business boon The bandwidth allows the download of large files. Harris claims this is beneficial to businesses as they will appear more "professional" and be able to pull presentations and proposals together quickly.

A broadband connection also allows simultaneous Internet access and telephone usage.

"There is a high degree of satisfaction with ADSL. It is a better means of Internet access than ISDN, and I expect Mac business users to be leading the charge in its adoption. Give it a try is my best recommendation.

"Who were the first people to make ISDN takeoff? People in the media using Macs, and we are starting to see this happen again with ADSL."

Harris claimed: "We’ve doubled figures in the last six months, new customers signing up to broadband has reached 10,000 to 20,000 a week and growing.

"BT has a projected figure of 1,000,000 customers using broadband by next summer, for which we are right on track."

Harris believes broadband will replace all other means of Internet access.

He claims: "People still using ISDN, or dial-up Internet access haven’t understood the benefits of ADSL."