01 January 2000

SUSTAINED PRESSURE from all points of the compass has finally pushed BT into offering unmetered internet access. Not that the deal is a exactly a snip! One month’s unlimited access will cost £34.99; a week-days-only package, £26.99; and weekends, £6.99 - rates twice those currently charged in the USA. Nor need eager surfers rush to take up the new deal; branded SurfTime, it will not be available for six months, and customers online for less than an hour a day would do better to stick to their existing tariff. In fact, the whole package is little more than a carefully timed publicity stunt.

But in these litigious times, who would risk saying so? Well, Angus Porter for a start. Who he, you ask? A BT marketing director, that’s who. In a flush of candour [which may not bode well for his future career] Angus told the Daily Telegraph: ‘If I am very honest, the timing of this announcement was not unconnected with the trade and industry meeting.’

The meeting to which he referred was that held on December 7 between the Commons trade and industry select committee and John Edmonds, director-general of Oftel. The agenda? BT’s local call monopoly!