Feeds

Can AOL turn the tide of free Net access by pushing for unmetered call charges?

Or is the Internet giant already drinking in the last chance saloon?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Analysis AOL's public declaration last week that it was committed to the idea of unmetered call charges for Internet access must have taken many people by surprise. With such a high profile company adding its considerable bulk to this most Networthy cause, it will have, no doubt, cheered many advocates of a more liberal pricing structure for Internet access. But you don't have to be all that twisted or cynical to believe that AOL's sudden support of unmetered call charges has been done for any reason other than to protect its revenue source. Under extreme pressure in the UK from the tidal wave of subscription-free service providers, AOL is trying to play King Canute and stem the tide. But some people reckon they're going to get more than just their feet wet -- especially if the UK becomes a fully-fledged subscription-free zone. The fear is that if it happens in the UK the rest of Europe could topple. Such a scenario would be catastrophic for AOL. But what of the practicalities of introducing unmetered charges? It took Oftel, the UK's telecoms regulatory body, nearly two-and-a-half working days and a chat to their lawyers to come up with some kind of woolly response. The Register asked Oftel about the government -- could it drive through legislation to introduce the Holy Grail of Net? The wall of silence from the so-called experts was deafening. The truth of the matter is that no one knows how the wholesale introduction of unmetered call charges can be carried out unless there is an intense will and desire to do so. So does AOL have the will to succeed? When an AOL representative was asked how it could back unmetered call charges when it would, in effect, mean that pensioners’ phone bills would be used to subsidise Net users. "Give me ten minutes to think about it and I'll come back to you," she said. There's nothing like being prepared, and that really was nothing like being prepared. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.