Free Web access – not yet, says BT

Denies newspaper speculation, but won't rule it out either

BT has dismissed weekend press reports that it is looking to introduce "radical new ways of charging for Net access" as pure speculation. While the giant telco makes no secret of the fact that it is always looking into new ways of charging for its services, claims that it is to introduce toll-free Internet access are just sheer conjecture, it said. A report in the Sunday Telegraph said BT was in discussion with Oftel, but no one from the telecomms regulator was available for comment this morning. "It is a story out of nothing," said David Pincott, a spokesman for BT. "I have no idea how it happened. We are not running any trials for 0800 access," he said. But when asked whether he could deny outright that BT would not overhaul its pricing policy, Pincott said: "I am not ruling it in or out." One possible source of the story that BT is to introduce an unmetered pricing structure similar to that in the US, may have come about following a report published last week by The Register. It was revealed that details of an 0800 number, username and password had been published on a number of newsgroups leading many to speculate that BT was trialling toll-free Net access. But Pincott told The Register no such trials had taken place, quashing hopes that the telco was about to cut the cost of Net access in the UK. Instead, he said it was for BT employees and was being used as part of a V90 modem trial, although many readers have contacted the The Register to say that this explanation simply didn't hold water. ®

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