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BT To Enable Unmetered Access

Amid mounting pressure from both Parliament and industry, BT has announced that it has devised a new set of tariffs for ISPs, enabling the companies to offer unlimited dial-up calls to the Internet for a single monthly fee.

Initial reactions to the announcement were favourable, although it appears that ISPs will be required to make a substantial investment of at least £1.4 million ($2.3 million) in order to take up the offer. Smaller ISPs will be priced out of the market.

"BT is continuing to develop a range of Internet access options which cater effectively for both heavy and infrequent users, ranging from individuals at home to major corporations," said Bill Cockburn, group managing director of BT UK.

BT plans to invest over £100 million ($162 million) in new technology over the next two years to make its network more Internet-friendly. The result should be faster and cheaper access for everyone.

Later this week, BT says it will officially notify the new service provider tariff to Oftel and the industry. The tariff is expected to become available to ISPs from mid-December.

Details that are already available are as follows: ISPs will have direct dial access to Internet Protocol (IP) ports at a cost per port of £140 (ex-VAT), which will include an average of eight hours usage per day. Excess usage will cost less than 1p per minute extra.

ISPs alone determine how they set their own monthly charges, but the BT tariff will certainly make unmetered access deals possible. Working on the basis of 14 consumers per dial port, ISPs will be paying the telephone company £10 ($16) per month for each consumer's calls.



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