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
  • Why should I pay for someone else's Internet calls?

    If unmetered local calls were to become universal, line rentals would have to increase across the board to pay for them. Surely those who would use such calls heavily - Internet users, in the main - would be subsidised by those who would not?

    Subject to the usual proviso that we don't know the internal costs of telecommunications companies, there are four answers to this:

    1. Different strokes for different folks

      In this country everyone is charged for telephone calls in the same way. By contrast US telephone operators offer a great variety of 'call plans', each of which define what usage is allowed for a given line rental - I (Alastair) have in front of me a Bell South phonebook which offers fourteen different call plans. To give an example with simple numbers, people could pay £25 a month for unmetered calls to all local numbers or £8 a month if they wanted all local calls to remain metered.

    2. Balancing the 'haves' and 'have nots'

      Currently there are few people with home Internet access and many without it; unmetered calls would balance these proportions, so the notion of a small number of heavy users being subsidised by a majority of light users would vanish. It depends on whose statistics you read, but the consensus is that 1 in 15 of the UK population has Internet access at home; 1 in 4 of the US population has.

    3. Representation and amortisation

      I have no children, yet I pay my Council Tax to support local schools. I have not been to an NHS doctor since 1989, yet I pay my taxes to support the NHS. I know nobody abroad, yet pay Cable and Wireless Communications for voice connections to other countries. Why? Because I might need these facilities in the future. I don't resent paying for them, the way I don't resent paying household insurance.

    4. Talking and typing

      Work I did with Cable and Wireless Communications customers show that the average spend, for nearly seven hundred of them, was £52. This was with unmetered Internet calls as they were former Videotron subscribers. Now the average CWC spend is roughly £26-£28 a month, so these people were spending almost twice as much as the average.

    It's absurd to treat Internet users almost as a different species from (voice) telephone users: Internet users communicate more using all possible methods!

    Text by Alastair Scott

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