Roundup: Unmetered access - how it all went wrong

Who's to blame for the unmetered fiasco? Greedy ISPs or selfish BT? And what's the future for narrowband unmetered access? Read all about it in our roundup

Unmetered access hit the headlines yet again this week as CallNet becomes the latest victim of its huge popularity. In the same week, broadband gets a boost as Telewest drops the price of its cable broadband service blueyonder from £50 a month to £33. Consumers are furious with ISPs that are cancelling services, changing the goalposts of their offerings or simply delaying roll out. Many experts think that ISPs were cavalier in their attitude to users, offering too-good-to-be-true services that were never sustainable. Telecoms watchdog Oftel has had plenty of complaints about the debacle but refuses to take the blame, falling back on the old chestnut of there being plenty of competition in the ISP market for people to find a satisfactory provider. AOL -- one of the few ISPs not to be sucked into the unmetered vacuum -- puts the blame squarely at BT's feet, claiming that until the telco releases its stranglehold on local lines or offering ISPs realistic rates for leasing them, unmetered will remain a pipe dream. Others think it would be better to wait for broadband and cable company Telewest has lost no time cashing in on the unmetered failure to lower the price of its broadband service. Nationwide broadband though won't come until BT rolls out ADSL which has now been delayed until September. So will consumers really have to wait for BT to get its act together on broadband or is there life left in narrowband unmetered? ZDNet brings you the all the latest stories in the ongoing tale of unmetered. THE UNMETERED SAGA:
The unmetered comedy of errors
Fri, 11th Aug 2000 CallNet has called it off, RedHotAnt proves to be only lukewarm, AltaVista hasn't got its act together -- so here's hoping Friaco won't be a fiasco Unmetered access model crumbles
Tue, 08th Aug 2000 Small print in terms and conditions presented by ISPs gives them no moral right to let users down, argue consumer groups Telewest slashes cost of broadband
Tue, 08th Aug 2000 Broadband service blueyonder, owned by Telewest, plans to charge users £33 per month rather than £50 CallNet ditches its free service
Mon, 07th Aug 2000 Another unmetered service bites the dust in the UK Advertising Standards Authority investigate breathe
Tue, 01st Aug 2000 'Free for life' boasted breathe.net's advertising campaign of its net access, but has the booting off of 500 customers last week proved it to be an idle boast? Bandwidth hogs spoil unmetered party
Thu, 27th Jul 2000 ISP users surfing overtime have meant breathe having to kick 500 off its service BT forced to offer better unmetered solution
Thu, 27th Jul 2000 The unmetered battlefield is strewn with casualties. Will BT's Friaco II rally the survivors into a force to be reckoned with again? What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.