AOL: Chancellor Must Ensure Reasonable Internet Rates

[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.”

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