Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications

  • Is this site really necessary?
  • Don't 'free' ISPs kill your argument?
  • Unmetered local calls will never happen
  • But electricity and gas are metered
  • The problem is the cost of PCs
  • The network can't cope!
  • Dial 999 for unmetered
  • Metered local call charges are reasonable
  • Why should I pay for someone else's calls?
  • Computer gamers will cause trouble
  • ISP charges would replace phone charges
  • An American Mythbuster
  • Unmetered calls would trouble ISPs
  • People on low incomes would be affected
  • Unmetered calls would favour the South-East
  • Dial 999 for unmetered

    An often-heard reason for not providing unmetered calls is that Internet users would cause 'clogged networks' and prevent people making calls to emergency services. This argument was used by Cable and Wireless Communications' Head of Corporate Communications, Roy Payne, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live. You can hear the broadcast in Real format here.

    We have tried several times to get CWC and others to demonstrate when and where emergency calls failed to get through because of Internet users 'clogging networks'. We have never had any response to our letters: we suggest, therefore, that such incidents never happened. In any case, CWC have had real problems with the emergency services ... without an Internet user in sight.

    .net magazine (December 1998) could only find one documented instance of anyone failing to get through as a result of Internet use in all their searches ... and that was in the USA in early 1997. The USA has per capita telephone use three times higher than us and networks and exchanges which, unlike ours, are not all digital.

    When we spoke to OFTEL they immediately and rapidly distanced themselves from 'clogged networks', describing it as a 'highly emotive term'.

    Granted, there may well be problems because of the tremendous growth in 'free' ISPs and the absurd call routing involved; we have heard rumours, but have not been able to pin down the details.

    But 'clogged networks' have a positive side as well. Think about the following sequence of events:

    • Existing users push hard on existing capacity;
    • To solve this more capacity is installed, possibly requiring technical breakthroughs to do so;
    • Because of this greater capacity better and faster services are possible;
    • More people join up ... and so on round the loop.
    If there had been no Internet, thus less pressure on networks, would we have had techniques such as IP telephony which will benefit everyone?

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