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World Online buys Localtel, launches unmetered service

Another day, another flat-fee Net access announcement

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World Online is set to offer flat-fee access to the Net following the acquisition of telco Localtel and its ISP, Screaming.net. Financial details were not disclosed. The deal follows hard on the heels of other UK acquisitions, including Telinco and bun.com (which gave the company a UK subscriber base of 400,000). Launched in April 1999, Screaming.net will add another 180,000 customers to World Online's UK customer base. World Online CEO UK Simon Preston said: "The Localtel expertise will help us refine our free subscription and free access model, thereby ensuring that we have a portfolio to suit every individual consumer." Elsewhere, The Times reports that BT is holding talks with Oftel and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a bid to cut it loose from some of the regulation that prevents it from competing "more aggressively" with other outfits. Sounds like the monster telco isn't keen on competition. Squealing to Oftel like that just because it doesn't get its own way, I ask you... *Easynet today raised £51.8 million through a share placing organised by broker ABN Amro. The British ISP is to spend the dough on developing a new DSL network in Germany and beefing up its other networks. ®

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