Post Office broadband targets silver surfers

Post Office broadband targets silver surfers

New service aims to appeal to over 50s with the option of pre-paid cash accounts

The Post Office's broadband service will go live next week, with a core target audience of the over 50s and late adopters of internet technology.

Subscribers may pay for the service in cash at any of the UK's 14,000 local Post Offices, in an offering designed to appeal to low-income users and those previously discouraged by the perceived complications of card payments.

The services are being marketed to the so-called "Netski" generation of surfers aged between 50 and 65. These older users are an uptapped market worth £478m, according to The Post Office.

“Until now, some significant groups in society have missed out on all the internet has to offer purely because broadband is perceived as a complicated luxury," said Post Office managing director Alan Cook.

"We are now able to open up a new range of products and services to these groups with a better, fairer and easier to use broadband service that reflects the trust that older customers, in particular, have in the ‘People’s Post Office'."

The service will re-sell BT's wholesale broadband. Two eight Mbit/s packages will be offered at a standard nationwide price, avoiding the additional charges imposed by many service providers for access in rural areas.

Up to 80 per cent of the UK population is expected to have broadband by the year 2012, according to the UK's telecoms regulator Ofcom.

The Post Office forecasts that users over the age of 50 will represent half of the additions to the broadband market between now and 2010.