BT crawls towards 'unmetered access'

BT buckles under pressure and grants UK its own interpretation of unmetered access

BT announced Tuesday it is to cut the cost of Internet access by introducing a new Net tariff, as predicted by ZDNet.

From December, BT will alter the way it charges ISPs for Internet calls, removing the pay per minute tariff and replacing it with an unmetered one. ISPs will be able to offer users 18 hours of Internet access per month for a charge of £10, according to a BT spokesman.

The Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications (CUT) views it as a victory. "This is a landmark decision, BT has finally cracked," said a spokesman. This is the first deal BT has done without pay per minute tariffs and CUT regard this as the beginning. "It is the start of unmetered access for the UK," the spokesman said.

BT denies it has bowed to pressure. "BT always keeps prices under review and this is just one of the initiatives we have come up with," a spokesman said.

One of the UK's largest ISPs AOL is not so impressed, accusing BT of simply repackaging old tariffs. "If you look at the tariffs it still contains a pay per minute element. BT is offering users a certain amount of time unmetered but after that it goes on to a pay per minute tariff. The clock is still ticking," a spokesman said.

Warning users not to get over-enthusiastic about the deal, the AOL spokesman warned. "This is definitely not flat-rate access. It is simply a repackaging of old tariffs," he said.

Is this the start of unmetered access for the UK, or is AOL right? Tell the Mailroom