Tiny Online, the ISP arm of PC manufacturer Tiny, is to offer an unmetered service based on Friaco.
The service is due to launch at the beginning of April and will cost £14.99 per month for 24 hour unlimited access to the Net. Friaco (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination) is the solution forced on BT by Oftel and the industry following the unpopularity of SurfTime. Unlike SurfTime, Friaco allows ISPs to pay an unmetered flat-rate fee to BT and pass this on to customers. It is generally regarded as financially viable in a way previous unmetered deals were not.
Tiny, along with a host of other ISPs, offered an unmetered service from the summer of last year. This was discontinued four months ago. Managing director of Tiny Online Colin Greene said the new improved unmetered service will have "high levels of service" which will come as a relief to customers. Poor quality of service was one of the biggest criticisms of previous unmetered offerings.
Unmetered access is slowly recovering from the bad press it received following the collapse of many high profile flat-rate services including LineOne and Freeserve. Both Freeserve and AOL now offer customers a Friaco-based deal and BT claims 80 percent of the UK's telephone exchanges are now Friaco-enabled. The whole country will be covered by April. In what an AOL spokesman describes as a "supreme irony" even BT, which initially fought tooth and nail against Friaco is offering it to the hundreds of virtual ISPs it supplies services to.
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