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The Register Guide to Flat Fee ISPs

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Confused about which ISPs are offering all-you-can-eat Net access in Britain? Then gorge yourself on The Register's guide to unmetered/flat-fee ISPs. If any ISPs want to be included on the list, please send the details to Tim Richardson and he'll sort it out.


AltaVista

-- announced March 2000 that it was to offer unmetered access to the Net. Alleged to cost 30 to join plus a 10-a -year renewal fee. Service won't be launched until early summer 2000. Yet to announce telco provider.


AOL

-- subscription-based die-hards, AOL has the most to lose unless unmetered access becomes widespread in Britain. In September 1999 cut the cost of dial-up daytime Net access to just 1p a minute in a move to establish the service as something for the whole family. Charges 9.99 a month subscription. Free trial currently being advertised offers ten hours subscription and toll-free access. Failed to introduce unmetered access despite trialling different 0800 packages last year.


Breathe

-- announced March 2000, will swap a one-off payment of 50 for unmetered access to the Net. Service swings into action on Monday 3rd April in partnership with Toys R' US and the radio station, Kiss FM.


BTInternet

-- offers unmetered access to the Net weekends and weekday evening for 9.99 a month.


CallNet 0800

-- claims to offer 24/7 "no catch" access to the Net, but launch late last year was dogged with problems. ISP began accepting new customers in February 2000. CallNet 0800 users have to fork out 19.99 for a CallNet Telecom dialler, which automatically routes all phone calls via CallNet's network. This cost is offset with 20 worth of free phone calls.


Claranet

-- two dial-up tariffs for consideration. For 6.99, Net calls are charged at 1p a day or night. Also offers offpeak access to the Net for 49.99 a month -- but this is looking very expensive now. This offer could be under review following recent announcements.


4unet

-- different branding of CallNet0800 operated by mobile phone entrepreneur John Caudwell.


Freeserve

-- announced in March 2000 that it is to offer flat-fee access to the Net. Users can either pay 6.99 a month to receive off-peak unmetered access to the Net courtesy of BT's SurfTime package. This will be available in May. Alternatively, users who spend more than 10 a month routing their voice calls via Energis will receive unmetered 24/7 access to the Net. Registration to the service is restricted to 10,000 people a week. Only on offer to existing Freeserve users initially.


GreatXscape

-- limited toll-free Net access but users have to switch telcos to TelNet. Retail partners include Beaverbrooks, Allsports and Kookai. Service launched in August 1999.


Kingston Interactive Television

-- provides unmetered Net and e-mail access through the TV for 14.99 a month for those privileged few in East Yorkshire.


Ic24

-- the ISP from the

Mirror

offers toll-free access to the Net every Saturday and Sunday between 9.00am and 5.00pm. There are no plans as yet to extend the 0800 offer.


LineOne

-- teamed up with discount telco,

Quip!

to provide 24/7 access to the Net. Full 24/7 offer announced March 2000. Users have to spend 20 on a dialler but need only make 5 worth of telephone calls to get 24/7 toll-free access. Users also get discounted national and international voice calls. Limited toll-free access using the same combined telephony/Internet access first offered in December 1999 ahead of the official launch in January 2000.


Madasafish

-- taking registrations for an as yet unannounced 0800 service. Slams everyone from AltaVista to BT about their "vague" announcements to offer unmetered access. Unfortunately, this "lifestyle" ISP is just as vague - if not more so. Backed by telco, iomart, which also happens to be its parent company.


ntl

-- the cable company won the backing of PM Tony Blair when it announced the launch of its unmetered package in March 2000. The service will be available to ntl and BT customers throughout Britain from 17 April. Users will be able to access the service via their PC and, later this year, via their TV. The service is toll free and subscription free. Outside ntl's areas, users have to make a one-off 10 payment for a telephone adapter and must spend at least 10 a month on non-Net voice calls to get toll-free 24/7 access.


Screaming Net

-- one of the first, if not the first, to exploit the telephony/Internet model of offering unmetered access to the Net. To take advantage of off-peak unmetered access users must switch telcos to LocalTel. Users also get discount of some calls. It has yet to respond to 24/7 Net access packages but since it has just been acquired by World Online, expect things to happen. Service launched in May 1999.


SupaNet

-- this associate of Time Computers is recruiting 1,000 people to take part in a 24/7 unmetered access trial. Announced in March 2000, it will pay 10 to everyone talking part.


Telewest

-- the UK's number two cable operator offers unlimited Net access from just 10 per month. Unlike ntl, only available to Telewest customers. Users have to spend 10 a month on phone calls to qualify. Called SurfUnlimited, operated through the ISP

Cable Internet

.


Totalise

-- as of April 1, 2000, the ISP will give its users 2.00 worth of shares for every 1.00 they spend dialling the Net. The amount users can claim is capped at seven hours usage a week. The ISP claims that it will offer unmetered access later this year. According to Totalise, this is no April fool.


24-7Freecall

-- recently launched 24/7 unmetered access trial. Costs 24.70 a month. No other details available.


The X-Stream Network

-- launched an 0800 trial early 1999. In January 2000 decided to extend trial "indefinitely". ISP admitted that service has been bogged down with too many users.

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