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World Online wavers on unmetered

Even the bigger players are rethinking their unmetered offerings
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

Despite promises to stick with its unmetered Internet service, fledgling telco World Online has sent a letter to customers this week claiming it is to "review its products and prices".

While the majority of unmetered ISPs have already gone bust or delayed the rollout of services, World Online has proudly maintained its offer -- £14.99 a month for unlimited Internet use.

Just last week at a debate hosted by World Online on the unmetered fiasco the Dutch ISP it admitted it was frustrated by users who were using the Net for 24 hours a day and was considering capping the service.

In a letter sent to World Online customers this week the telco says, "In light of the delays in the availability of FRIACO, World Online is currently having to review its products and prices." It claims it will give customers "at least twenty one days notice" of any changes.

FRIACO (Flat Rate Internet Access Origination) is the unmetered system BT was due to introduce in June. According to World Online, FRIACO in its current guise does "not present a viable business proposition for any ISP".

World Online has made no secret of the fact its unmetered narrowband service is merely a stepping stone to broadband.

As ZDNet was publishing this article it was announced that World Online, which has 2 million users in the UK, has been bought by Italian ISP Tiscali.

Chief executive officer of World Online Simon Preston admits that there is likely to be some changes to the unmetered service. "I think there will be changes to the terms and conditions and pricings but I don't think they will be as dramatic or draconian as some people might think," he says.

World Online is hosting a consumers' forum Friday to discuss possible changes. An announcement is expected at the end of next week.

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