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High telco charges and per minute billing are holding back the development of the Internet and e-commerce in Britain, according to hard-hitting report from Durlacher Research. Net use among domestic users would increase by 46 per cent if these two issues were addressed, Durlacher claims. Users would more than double the time they spend online if Britain adopted widespread unmetered access, it says. Average Net use per residential user would triple from 130 hours per year to 386 hours, if Britain adopted widespread unmetered access, according to Durlacher, which held interviews with some 4000 homes. These figures do not take into account the increase in new users that such a move would generate. Nick Gibson, Durlacher's senior internet analyst, said: "It is clear that the widespread adoption of unmetered internet access would provide a massive boost for what is already a rapidly growing UK Internet economy. "Thankfully, the impending introduction of new technologies and new pricing plans should start the unmetered access ball rolling." A spokeswoman for BT said it was an "interesting report", adding that the adoption of unmetered access was "something we've recognised for a long time." In December BT announced plans to offer flat-fee unmetered access to the Net. A spokesman for telco watchdog, OFTEL, said that an announcement concerning BT SurfTime would be made within the next couple of weeks. If it receives the OFTEL rubber stamp the service could be available by the Spring. ® Related Stories BT intros unmetered Net access Deutsche Telekom parades Net flat fees AOL demands flat fees for Germany Valentine's Day debut for Telewest free Net calls service

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