Greek users strike over access charge hike

Beware of Greeks bearing GIFs...

Greece has become the latest target for Internet users angry at the high cost of dial-up access across Europe. Yesterday, Greek users held a 24-hour boycott of the Net, following similar strikes held in Germany, Spain, Portugal, the UK and France. The Greek action was specifically intended to protest against new tariffs, due to be introduced on 1 March, which will see the cost of local phone calls rising by 50 per cent. In most European countries, the pricing trend is downward, not upward and protesters believe the new charges will "isolate of Greeks from their compatriots around the world" and "block cyberspace, free information and [limit] children's education". Ironically, there is a cheaper connection service available, but only through a single supplier, state-owned telco OTEnet. The company said it would allow other telcos to offer the cheaper service, but only those with national coverage. The strikers fear that this will isolate many of Greece's smaller, but more innovative telcos who provide local services. Today, OTEnet claimed there had been only a "small drop" in Internet access during the period of the strike. However, other providers said around 35 per cent of users heeded the boycott call. Strikers were also encouraged to email the Greek prime minister, but his office today said only 60 such emails had been received in the first 14 hours of the strike. Given that strikers shouldn't have been using their email anyway, that's perhaps not too surprising. ® See also French users call second Net boycott

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