AOL: Chancellor Must Ensure Reasonable Internet Rates
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[Berlin, GERMANY] According to the AOL Germany online service, the German Chancellor Gerhard Schrvder should push harder for cheaper Internet access rates and should appoint an Internet minister. In an open letter to the newspaper 'Welt am Sonntag', Uwe Heddendorp, the head of AOL Germany, called for the Chancellor to increase his support of a flat rate. Heddendorp says that the introduction of a flat rate is failing because of the largely state-owned Deutsche Telekom, which demands "time-dependent" fees from providers.
If people in Germany had to pay between 1.4 and 1.8 pfennigs per minute for television - instead of paying the current flat-rate television license fee of DM 28.25 (US $12.50) per month - the popularity of television would soon plummet. The head of AOL criticized the supposedly reasonable price-per-minute as doing nothing but driving prices up to point where the average TV watcher would have to pay well over DM 100 (US $43) per month. Heddendorp thinks that a breakthrough in Internet usage in Germany will only happen when access to the network costs only DM 39 (US $17) per month. America has set the example for this.
Chancellor Schrvder should prevent economically reasonable decisions from being blocked in the maze between regulating authorities, the government and legislators. To give the increased networking of Germany the necessary emphasis, Heddendorp believes that "the appointment of an Internet minister would be a real signal."