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Ecommerce minister caught sitting on fence – shock

Net access prices must come down, but the gov't won't lift a finger to help

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Britain's ecommerce minister Patricia Hewitt wants to cut the cost of Net access for consumers -- but it's not her priority. Instead she told a Net conference at the London School of Economics yesterday that sorting out the ecommerce bill was more important. "We have got to get the costs down," she said. "I will be pushing this forward with Oftel, but it's as least as important that we get the legal framework right," she said. A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) explained that while the minister was committed to reducing the cost of Net access the government had no plans to force a price cut. Instead it was up to the marketplace to bring down the cost itself. This has been government policy for some time but it does beg the question, if it's up to the marketplace to decide why is the minister in talks with the regulator? ®

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