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French telco intros free Web calls

Limited service from France Telecom as free calls movement begins to snowball

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France Telecom is to offer limited unmetered access to the Internet in return for a flat fee of 100 French Francs (around £10) a month. The CEO of France's leading teleco, Michel Bon, made the announcement in an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien. He didn't reveal any more details about the new pricing structure or whether it would apply to all pricing tariffs. Further details will be made public before the new service is introduced on 1 August. Last week politicians in Japan decided that affordable unmetered Net access is a priority if it is to excel in the digital world. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications said that unmetered access must be introduced by next year so that ordinary people can use the Net without worrying about the size of their telephone bills. It wants families to be able to log onto the Net and stay put for as long as they like, all for around £30 a month. In a bold move that shows a clear lead to other world governments, Japan's politicians have decided that the wider social benefits of unmetered access far outweigh those of shareholders. ®

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