In a move that mirrors the recent decision by British telecoms regulator Oftel [WAMN: 14-Nov-00], its German counterpart RegTP has ordered Deutsche Telekom to charge internet service providers flat rates for network access by February 1 next year.

Although German ISPs have been charging subscribers flat rates since the summer, they have incurred losses and restricted services because access to the national telephone network was charged by the minute.

AOL Deutschland welcomed the move, but claimed that web usage would only be enhanced if it could charge a flat rate of only DM50 per month.

Deutche Telekom has threatened court action against the ruling, warning that the network could be overloaded by new traffic. It also warned that it may have to spend an extra DM2 billion on developing the narrow-band network, slowing the creation of broadband services which could also offer high speed web access.

RegTP also requested that Deutsche Telekom cease providing discounted access to its subsidiary ISP T-Online and to other favoured providers. The company countered: “We could have the paradoxical situation that the price of internet access for consumers could rise between now and February 1”.

News source: Financial Times