Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications
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  • Complain, Complain, Complain

    There are four main groups to whom you should write with your views on the price of telecommunications pricing:

    • Your telecommunications company (usually BT)
    • OFTEL, the Office of Telecommunications
    • The Press and other media organisations
    • Politicians, including your MP and the Government

    Write a short letter (or email) to the company which supplies you with a telephone line and ask them a simple question:

    Why do they not offer the option of unmetered voice and data tariffs?

    Please read the Mythbusters section of this site to prepare yourself for the excuses they may make in response (if they respond at all), and let them know that you won't accept being fobbed off!

    Complete the short feedback form on OFTEL's web site demanding that they do more to force telecommunications companies to offer the option of unmetered telephone tariffs.

    All national newspapers and television stations now have Web sites. Write to them, and your local newspaper, asking them to do more about this important issue. Unmetered tariffs would be to their advantage as well!

    Despite numerous promises about linking schools to the Internet, open government, and making more and more governmental information available online, the Government seems not to have realised that the main cost of using new technologies isn't that spent on computers or set-top boxes but the open-ended cost of maintaining a connection.

    Although all MPs have access to email, through the Houses of Parliament's own facilities, only about one-third of them actually use the service.

    To prevent mailbombing, MPs' Parliamentary email addresses are not made public and the best way to contact them remains the postal service. All letters should be addressed to:

    [MP's name],
    House of Commons,
    London SW1A 0AA

    If you don't know who your MP is you can find out from Constituency Locata.

    If you're stuck for what to write, we offer a sample letter which you can use. It's better to use your own words if you can, though.

    Remember that Members of Parliament are paid by us to do what we want them to do. Don't be afraid to tell them what you want - politely, of course. You don't have to be a United Kingdom citizen to approach your MP, and you don't have to have voted for him or her at the last General Election. You don't even have to be of voting age! (In fact, most MPs are doubly impressed by correspondence from minors!)

    Here are a few MPs you can contact who are either in a position to do something about the problems outlined earlier or have an interest in change. If one of those is your constituency MP, find out when they hold Parliamentary Surgeries from your local newspaper and see them in person.

    The Government
    Rt Hon Tony Blair MP (Prime Minister)
    Rt Hon Stephen Byers MP (President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry)
    Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt MP (Minister for E-Commerce)
    Rt Hon Michael Wills MP (Minister for Communications and Information Technology)
    Rt Hon Chris Smith MP (Secretary Of State For Culture, Media and Sport)

    The Opposition
    Rt Hon William Hague MP (Leader of the Opposition)
    Ms Angela Browning MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry)
    Mr Christopher Chope OBE MP (Shadow Spokesman on Competition, Consumer Affairs, Science and Small Firms)
    Mr Peter Ainsworth MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport)

    Rt Hon Paddy Ashdown MP (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Party and Internet user)

    Members of the Select Committee on Trade and Industry
    Rt Hon Martin O'Neill MP (Chairman) (Lab, Ochil)
    Mr Tony Baldry MP (Con, Banbury)
    Mr John Bercow MP (Con, Buckingham)
    Mr Roger Berry MP (Lab, Kingswood)
    Mr John Butterfill MP (Lab, Bournemouth West)
    Mr Jim Cunningham MP (Lab, Coventry South)
    Mr Lindsay Hoyle MP (Lab, Chorley)
    Mr Bob Laxton MP (Lab, Derby North)
    Mr Alasdair Morgan MP (SNP, Galloway & Upper Nithsdale)
    Ms Linda Perham MP (Lab, Ilford North)
    Mrs Helen Southworth MP (Lab, Warrington South)

    Members of the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport
    Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP (Chairman) (Lab, Manchester Gorton)
    Mr David Faber (Con, Westbury)
    Mr Michael Fabricant MP (Con, Lichfield)
    Mr Ronnie Fearn MP (Lib Dem, Southport)
    Mr Christopher Fraser MP (Con, Dorset Mid and Poole)
    Mrs Llin Golding MP (Lab, Newcastle under Lyme)
    Mr Alan Keen MP (Lab, Feltham and Heston)
    Mr John Maxton MP (Lab, Glasgow Cathcart)
    Mr Roger Stott MP (Lab, Wigan)
    Ms Claire Ward MP (Lab, Watford)
    Mr Derek Wyatt MP (Lab, Sittingbourne and Sheppey)

    Other Members of Parliament who participated in the Debate in the House of Commons on 11 July 1997 (most took part because of their professional or personal interest in IT):
    Mr Ian Bruce MP (Con, Dorset South) (IT professional, paid advisor to Telecommunication Managers' Association)
    Mr Michael Fallon MP (Con, Sevenoaks) (appears to know nothing about the issues)
    Dr Ian Gibson MP (Lab, Norwich, North) (medical research background and enthusiastic Net user)
    Mrs Cheryl Gillan MP (Con, Chesham and Amersham)
    Mr David Heath MP (Con, Somerton and Frome) (particularly interested in educational aspects of the Net)
    Mr Nigel Jones MP (Lib Dem, Cheltenham) (IT professional and enthusiastic Net user)
    Mr Denis MacShane MP (Lab, Rotherham)
    Rt Hon Ian Taylor MP (Con, Esher and Walton) (Mininster for Trade and Industry in the last Conservative Government, IT professional and Net user)
    Mr Phil Woolas MP (Lab, Oldham East and Saddleworth)

    Other MPs with an interest not already mentioned:
    Mr Steve Webb MP (Lib Dem, Northavon) (tabled Debate in the House of Commons on 9th June 1999)
    Mr Richard Allan (Lib Dem, Sheffield Hallam)

    Research and Text by Richard Sliwa

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