Fifteen pounds may sound like a lot of money every month to surf the Internet, but if you look at the trail of failed attempts, AOL's flat rate move might just restore some faith in consumers' confidence about unmetered access... ZDNet takes you on a stroll through the carnage.
UNMETERED: THE LAST MONTH
World Online hikes unmetered prices
Thu, 21 Sep As AOL hails the arrival of Friaco, World Online blames its non-appearance for the decision to cut back its flat rate offering AOL goes unmetered
Tue, 19 Sep £14.99 flat rate, no engaged phone lines and that lovely Connie to tell you all about it CallNet being wound up as creditors form queue
Thu, 14 Sep CallNet's business model relied on people using a dialling prefix. After several serious issues with connectivity, the ISP finally fell foul of the phone bill. Perhaps one of the stories that illustrates the fragile unmetered promise best ISPs told 'Free' must mean free
Wed, 13 Sep The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) finally cottons onto the fact that consumers really haven't a clue what is going on with the Great British ISP (despite best efforts by ZDNet!) and fires off over 100 missives warning companies that free really must mean free Jane Wakefield: The man who ate the Internet
Fri, 01 Sep No unmetered round up would be complete without the dulcet tones of Jane Wakefield to tell us exactly how it is. In this episode from Jane's column, we see how utterly selfish those pesky Internet customers can really be... Ezesurf hit by Trading Standards investigation
Wed, 30 Aug One of the first ISPs to really get into trouble was Ezesurf which was under investigation by the Institute of Trading Standards Administration in August. Similar investigations will surely follow as customers count the cost of "free surfing" BT's SurfTime is a flop
Thu, 24 Aug It said Surftime was it: the end to all our unmetered woes. Did it get it wrong, or did it deliberately try to sabotage Tony Blair's vision of a connected UK. Read the facts and you decide AltaVista cancels unmetered service
Tue, 22 Aug When this story broke the whole unmetered model went 'bang!' Alta Vista, the team that got us all so excited, got its sums wrong and the top man eventually quit. COMMENT
The best you can say for AltaVista is that it may honestly have thought it could provide a profitable unmetered offering. Most of its rivals believe that if it did, it was incompetent and Guy Kewney tends to agree. "The numbers involved are complicated, and it may be that they were simply unable to add them up," said one rival yesterday. Whose hand is on the smoking gun?
Tony Westbrook reckons that when something seems too good to be true, experience suggests that it usually is. As it was with the recent rash of completely free internet access offerings. One of the culprits for scuppering the free services must be BT who is sticking firmly to its June 2001 date for unbundling the local loop -- the last possible date by which it has to do it. When will unmetered finally arrive? To have your say online click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum. What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.