Campaign for Unmetered Telecommunications

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  • Second AGM Report, 9 April 2000

    At the Second AGM held at the Irish Club, Eaton Square in London on Sunday 9 April 2000, elections were held for four Committee posts. Those elected for the coming year ending April 2001 are:

    Moderator: Charlie Sands (new)
    Treasurer: Iain Begg (re-elected)
    Secretary: Richard Sliwa (re-elected)
    Press Officer: Sunil Sood (new)

    All of those elected were Committee Members during the preceding year. Alastair Scott and Erol Ziya, formerly Moderator and Press Officer respectively, chose to stand down. However, both will continue to serve as Committee Members during the coming year and will help those replacing them in their posts. Nick Mailer will continue to serve as Technical Officer, that not being an elected post.

    In standing for Moderator, Charlie Sands noted:

    This past year has seen remarkable progress in achieving unmetered telecommunications in the UK, but I believe our work is far from finished. We will be focussing on the following issues in the year ahead:
    • campaigning for a reasonably priced unmetered narrowband offering that can be taken up by any organisation willing to provide services. BT Surftime, when and if implemented, is an important step in the right direction, but BT's rates remain too high and are uncompetitive. The best solution would be an unmetered voice and data tariff or tariffs similar to those offered by Kingston Communications;

    • monitoring the deployment of ADSL and cable modem broadband services in the UK and campaigning for reasonable pricing;

    • supporting and monitoring local loop unbundling in the UK;

    • assisting in the reform of OFTEL whose regulatory structure is sadly out of date;

    • participating in the development of a regulatory structure for telecommunications in the UK which will provide a workable framework for telecommunications operators, businesses and consumers alike.
    As Moderator I will do my best to see that these goals are carried out. I will also give serious consideration as to how we can be transformed into a permanent independent telecommunications consumer organisation in the UK. This will require funding at levels far in excess of what we are currently attracting.
    In other business, Members unanimously approved the following:

    » A change to the Mission Statement, to more clearly define our objectives, from

    We campaign for the option of unmetered local telecommunications for all.
    We campaign for the availability of unmetered narrowband and broadband telecommunications at reasonable cost to everyone in the United Kingdom.
    » A lifetime Honorary Membership for Tim Berners-Lee, who contributed a letter in support of us in November 1998 which helped establish the Campaign and has been quoted all round the world.

    At the end Charlie made the following remarks:

    Before concluding this second AGM of CUT, I would like to offer thanks on behalf of the Committee to those who have helped our cause in the past year.

    First, I thank all of the Members for their continuing support and particularly those who have travelled here to attend this meeting today as well as those who participated via IRC.

    Second, I thank the Committee Members of the past year, all of whom contributed a great deal of time and energy to the campaign. In particular, I would like to thank Alastair Scott for doing a wonderful job as Moderator and Erol Ziya who, as Press Officer, ably presented our views to the news media through interviews with the press and radio and TV networks. Both Alastair and Erol devoted an extraordinary amount of time to CUT in this past year at great personal sacrifice. We owe them both a deep debt of gratitude.

    Third, I thank the news media for its continuing support which has helped promote our cause and add to our membership. In particular, I would like to thank The Times and its 'Free the Net' Campaign which has received widespread attention. The Times honoured us by selecting CUT as the best IT Campaign of 1999.

    Fourth, I thank AOL for its endorsement of us, for providing a link from its portal during the boycott protest and for funding our Christmas party.

    Fifth, I thank Steve Webb, the Liberal Democrat MP for Northavon, for quoting Tim Berners-Lee on unmetered access and praising the campaign and our Web site in a House of Commons Debate last July.

    Sixth, I thank the British Government which, from the Prime Minister down, has pushed for reasonably-priced access to the Internet in the UK as well as faster rollout of broadband access. We have held meetings with, among others, e-minister Patricia Hewitt and OFTEL, which adopted an enlightened regulatory policy in 1999 under Director-General David Edmonds.

    Seventh, I thank BT for entering into a constructive dialogue this past year, for daring to use the word 'unmetered' and for offering an unmetered tariff despite previous statements that they had no intention of ever doing so.

    Eighth and last, I thank all of the companies who now are offering unmetered Internet access in the UK. Their numbers are sure to grow.

    Full minutes and an edited video of the AGM will be made available to Members within the next few weeks.

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