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A Year Ago: BT offers unmetered access - finally

First published: Tue, 07 Dec 1999 12:42:50 GMT

Unmetered access for dial-up users arrives in Britain next spring

BT finally bowed to pressure Tuesday as it announced unmetered dial-up access for the UK -- but it will cost users over £30 per month.

BT Surftime, expected next spring after agreement with the telecoms watchdog Oftel, will offer residential and business users a range of tariffs for a single monthly fee. BT describes the package as a "radical" breakthrough in getting the UK wired but critics argue it is simply giving in to pressure from government, Oftel and Internet users.

BT admits it has finally listened to its customers. "It is a response to the demand for better Internet access prices," a spokesman confessed but he denied the decision has come very late in the day. "We've done it now because we can. This has required a huge network investment and a new number range for data-only calls. We have been working on it for six months," he said.

Under the Surftime deal, users can choose between five tariffs. For £6.99 a month, surfers will get unlimited access at the weekend plus any applicable ISP subscription charge. For the same amount, users can choose unlimited evening access.

£26.99 a month will give onliners unlimited daytime access from Monday to Friday but for full unmetered access -- anytime day or night -- users will have to pay £34.99. The fifth option is to pay as you go, the same tariff as currently offered.

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