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
  • ISP charges would replace phone charges

    This argument is most commonly applied when referring to the US situation.

    But there are many models in that country. Compuserve is wholly ISP metered; AOL has metered options for low users but also offers unlimited access for a flat fee. AOL changed its pricing model in 1997 to accommodate such access and, after initial problems of its own making, is now thriving.

    Almost all local and semi-national ISPs - Erols Internet is a good example - have local call access for a flat fee; some national ISPs - and GTE Internet are examples - have structures where users start to pay by the hour after an huge number of hours (usually 100-200) at a flat rate.

    In Australia there's a mixture. Per-hour ISP charging is more common than in the USA but, again, there are flat- rate providers, usually local companies. We quote from a correspondent who uses

    $50 per month regardless of period of time connected. A 20c connection fee each time I log on. Unless traffic through my ISP is heavy, unlimited access time. In the event that traffic is heavy, I may be disconnected after four hours. I then wait 15 minutes or so and can re-connect for another 20c call charge.

    We've had other people state $35-$50AUS for the flat rate. Is £13-£21 per month plus 7½ pence per call, irrespective of its length, fair or not? Your choice ...

    As with most myths about unmetered tariffs, there is one counter-example which nobody can dispute. It is in this country. Kingston Communications is able to offer an all-in package of unmetered internet access and unmetered telephone calls for £44 per quarter.

    Text by Alastair Scott and Richard Sliwa

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