Europe-wide Net boycott a qualified success

Nearly 90 per cent of Spanish users heed the call - but hardly any Brits did

Organisers of the latest European Internet strike today claimed action taken olast weekend had been a success, with Net traffic in at least one country down almost 90 per cent.

Called by the UK's Campaign for Unmetered Calls (CUT), the 24-hour strike took place last Sunday in nine European countries: Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy, Poland, Belgium and Switzerland. The first four of these countries have already experienced Internet boycott action individually.

In France, Internet dial-up calls were down 65 per cent, according to the French Association of Unhappy Internauts, the same group that organised a strike (see French Internet strike 'a success', claims organiser) last December. The Spanish organiser, meanwhile, claimed 87 per cent of Internet users followed the call to keep their modems switched off.

But in Britain, even the strike's overall organiser, claimed it had been ineffective. "Strikes are a dead loss here," complained a CUT spokesman. CUT is planning a series of awareness-raising programmes for the summer. An earlier British strike also failed to match the level of support garnered by similar action in other European countries. Sunday's strike, and those that preceded it, were called to protest at the high call charges many European users pay for dial-up Internet access.

It's notable that most have been called in countries that only ended state-controlled telecoms monopolies relatively recently. Britain's phone network was opened to players other than British Telecom (BT) in the early 80s, suggesting British users are, on the whole, happy with the level of call charges, particularly with the various discounts BT offers to frequent callers.

Elsewhere, a strike in Germany (see German Net strike goes ahead) saw one telco, Mobilcom, introduce a flat fee for Internet access, though the target of the action, Deutsche Telekom, was not persuaded to do so, though it did cut phone charges just days before the strike. ®

See also

British Telecom threatened with two cyberstrikes
France Telecom cuts interconnection charges
French users call second Net boycott
Portuguese Internet strike goes ahead

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