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Unmetered access just a few weeks away, says BT

Telco heels to watchdog call

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BT has confirmed it will comply with Oftel's directive and offer wholesale unmetered access to the Net "within a few weeks".

A spokesman for the telco said: "We have agreed to Oftel's directive and will introduce it (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination or FRIACO for short) in due course.

The BT spokesman explained a delay was unavoidable because it was "not something you can flick and switch on just like that".

He said the service would be introduced "as soon as is practical".

This statement of intent from BT is good news for consumers and service providers who have campaigned long and hard for unmetered Net access in Britain.

It's one thing being ordered by Oftel to comply -- it's another adhering to that ruling. Despite the obvious jubilation among pro-unmetered activists there is still a fear that BT will drag its feet over the implementation of FRIACO.

And there are also concerns that even if it does offer the wholesale Net access product "within a few weeks" that the service will simply not be up to scratch.

No one should be surprised if the introduction of FRIACO is plagued by a number of small -- but annoying -- glitches.

Still, let's not dwell on such negative thoughts when BT has change its tone. Indeed, it is to be welcomed -- BT was positively hostile last week, really venomous, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, one thing is sure; BT's public backing of and commitment to FRIACO stamps out those whispers that the telco was so irate by Oftel's ruling that it was prepared to take legal action to get it overturned... which is nice. ®

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