Flat rate pricing for Net use not fair - BT

Unlike our friends in Germany, Britons cannot look forward to a flat monthly fee for Internet use for reasons of fair play, according to a BT spokesman today.

Highlighting the disparity in attitude between Britain and Germany's leading telcos, the spokesman was asked if BT would follow the lead of German telco Mobilcom which begins a new flat rate price structure for Net access this month. The suggestion was immediately dismissed by BT.

"To greatly reduce the price of local calls for a relatively small group of Internet users would be unfair to our other customers," said the spokesman who went on to claim that current Internet services are "very good value". The spokesman denied the cost of access was restricting the number of people going online, "very few people are not in the position to pay 39p an hour for Internet access," he said.

Potentially leading the way for other European telcos, Mobilcom told ZDNet UK News that it disagreed fundamentally with BT's position and thinks Internet access is generally too expensive: "We want to make the Internet open to everyone and give people the chance to go online without difficulty," a Mobilcom spokesman said.

Despite the German lead, IDC analyst James Eibisch doesn't believe there will be flat rate pricing in the UK any time soon, although he did predict that "the proportion of Internet access that will be charged will go down".

Mobilcom is offering unlimited Internet access for a flat monthly fee of 77 Marks (£27).

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