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Winged watchdog Oftel blesses Net users

But will pilgrims flock to ST FRIACO?

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Oftel has canonised the principle of wholesale unmetered Net access in Britain with the introduction of a new product called ST FRIACO.

This saintly service will be available from February 26 and enables operators to offer consumers unmetered Net access by connecting with BT's network at its main regional exchanges for a flat rate annual fee.

The current FRIACO (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination) product conveys Internet calls to BT's local exchanges. ST FRIACO (Single Tandem Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination) conveys them across BT's network to the operator's own telephone network.

The winged watchdog believes this additional product will increase choice and ultimately bring down the cost of Net access for consumers.

In a statement, the venerable David "Harry Potter" Edmonds, Head Boy of Oftel: "A year ago there was no unmetered access to the Internet in the UK.

"Oftel has taken a series of actions to enable other operators to compete effectively with BT to supply unmetered Internet access to consumers.

"Today's decision should ensure that UK consumers continue to have some of the widest choice and lowest prices for Internet access in Europe. It should encourage more UK consumers to take advantage of the Internet without the worry of running up high telephone bills," he said. ®

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