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Deutsche Telekom Searches for Flat-Rate Net Tech Solution

Deutsche Telekom is said to be currently working on plans to introduce a flat-rate model for Internet access in Germany.

This news was indirectly confirmed by the chairman of the board Ron Sommer. A member of the board of directors, Detlev Buchal, who is responsible for product marketing, commented that a special technical solution was to be attempted.

One possibility might be that the narrow band D-channel (16KB/Sec), currently used in the ISDN system for the transmission of telephone numbers and user data, could in future become a permanent Internet access channel.

A further technical solution might be the extension of ISDN connections onto a further data channel with a low transmission capacity. If slow-loading content is called up, the system could then switch back to the normal ISDN data rate, according to Buchal, which would then cost normal local telephone fees.

These measures taken by Deutsche Telekom seem to be an attempt to protect its network from overloading. Flat-rate experiments in Austria carried out by Telekom Austria failed due to their great popularity, when exchanges were no longer able to deal with the onslaught of long-term internet users.

At present, most European Internet subscribers have to pay their local telephone company by the minute when accessing the Internet. Pricing models with free local phone calls similar to the U.S. remain rare in Europe.