ISPA attacks BT tariff

Analysts don't like it, customers don't like it, now the body looking after the UK's ISPs tells us it doesn't like it either...

The Internet Service Provider's Association (ISPA) on Wednesday joined the chorus criticising BT's new Internet tariff and accused the telco of pushing other operators out of the market.

Tim Pearson chairman of ISPA, accused BT of attempting "to grab the market" and gain back lost revenue from other operators. According to Pearson the majority of Internet calls are carried long distance by operators such as Energis and Colt and in Q1 of this year, the telco paid out a massive £697m to operators carrying Net calls according to Pearson.

Under the new tariff ISPs must use BT ports for the whole Internet call. An aggressive move by BT claimed Pearson: "This is an attempt to grab the market. It appears to push other operators out of the market."

BT did not argue with Pearson's claims and admitted its intent to grab the market. "Of course we are," a spokesman said. "BT is a business and we have less than 50 percent of the market supplying network to ISPs".

Pearson also raised concerns about the control ISPs will have over their networks if they accept BT's new tariff. "It appears the offer requires ISPs to hand over control of IP services. This will mean ISPs lose a whole pile of power over their network. They will have to build it as BT wants it," he said.

BT's claim that ISPs will be able to offer "radically new subscription charges" is also questioned by Pearson. He doubts whether ISPs will follow the BT guideline of having 14 people per port. "They could have 14 on a port but people will just get an engaged tone and stop using the service." Pearson believes it is far more realistic that ISPs will put three users on a port, forcing the cost up.

ISPs, including AOL and FreeCheck, slammed the new tariff Wednesday, claiming ISPs would have to charge users at least £15 per month for 18 hours worth of Internet time just to cover their costs. BT claims it has never suggested otherwise. "BT is not suggesting that ISPs sell on the service without making a margin for themselves," a spokesman said.

So is £15 for 18 hours Internet time really a good deal? BT thinks so. "A lot of costs are during the day. We have now taken those costs away," he said.

Do you think it is a good deal. Would you pay £15 for 18 hours Internet time? Tell the Mailroom