Australian ISP Tries Per-Minute Access

Australian telecommunications carrier AAPT
will attempt to undercut its rivals in the Internet industry with a cheap
per-minute timed service to consumers.

AAPT will offer a service called SmartSurf which will be metered at 2.5
cents Australian ($US0.016) per minute increments, totalling AUS$1.50
(US$0.96) per hour.

The company made news last week when it bought out the 41 percent of
major Australian ISP Connect.

Larry Williams, CEO of AAPT, said the pricing move was “designed to re-introduce
simplicity” into Internet access for Australian home users.

“There are no complex plans, no monthly free hours. For every minute you
are online, you pay 2.5 cents per minute, $1.50 per hour. No upfront
payment is required,” said Williams.

The SmartSurf service comes with a catch–users also have to be customers
of AAPT’s long distance telephony service.

The service is the first movement by Australian ISPs to mirror the latest
movements in Britain, where ISP services are being offered for free.
English local phone calls are charged on a timed basis, however, so in
Australia, where local calls are charged a flat fee, SmartSurf effectively
resembles the cost structure of FreeServe, offered by British bookseller
Dixon.

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