Digital broadcaster ONdigital is to offer full Internet access to new and existing customers from 18 September.
ONnet will cost £5 per month and is promising customers no additional investment in hardware, including no extra cables.
ONnet will be available to all new and existing ONdigital subscribers and is backed by an £8 million advertising campaign.
For £5 a month the ONnet package provides ONdigital subscribers with a free cordless keyboard, a set top box (running the Linux operating system), video and email.
ONdigital will charge customers 1p per minute at off-peak times and throughout the weekends and 2p per minute at all other times.
“Why spend hundreds of pounds on a computer when you can access the Internet on the TV that already sits in your living room,” said Stuart Prebble, ONdigital’s Chief Executive, says
Users will be able to toggle between watching TV and surfing the Internet. User can also click through from programmes and advertisements to connected websites.
“No need to shiver in front of a PC monitor in a cold spare room, now people will be able to surf the Web while relaxing on their sofas or beds,” said Prebble.
ONdigital is hoping to tap into the lucrative online shopping market.
Analysts from retail research specialists Verdict forecast that by 2005 there will be 14 million digital TV shoppers, with one-third of all online shopping transactions going through the TV, worth £4bn.
The service will also be available prepaid, packaged with a ONdigital box for a one-off payment of £159, to cover the cost of subscription to six ONdigital primary channels and to ONnet, for 12 months.
At the end of June ONdigital was claiming a total of 774,000 subscribers to its TV service and is on target to hit initial projections of one million by the end of the year.