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Le Freeswerve hikes DSL prices, whinges at BT

Pathetic attempt to bash BT and Oftel

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Freeserve has blamed BT and Oftel for its decision to increase the price of its home ADSL product to £49.99 a month - an increase of around 25 per cent.

The price rise comes into effect from June. In a statement, Britain's biggest French ISP said: "This has been forced upon Freeserve because we have no confidence in BT or the regulator driving down the wholesale price to a level which will facilitate large-scale take-up of broadband in the UK.

"Nor does Freeserve have any confidence in BT's allocation process for ADSL capacity, which has made it virtually impossible to plan an effective marketing strategy to create consumer demand. Since sidelining consumers from its own ADSL offer several weeks ago, BT says it has done away with the allocation process.

"However, Freeserve is not prepared to rescue BT from its ADSL debacle and can have no confidence in the process until the wholesale price is reduced to levels seen in France and elsewhere in Europe."

So there you have it. The price rise is designed to show that the current pricing regime for wholesale ADSL services from BT is simply too high to make it a mass market product. The price rise has been introduced merely as a club with which to beat BT and the telecoms regulator over their combined failure to roll-out ADSL at a price that Le Freeswerve likes.

Nothing wrong with that. Despite all BT's protestations, from a user's perspective the cost of ADSL is prohibitively high in Britain to make it a mass market product. And the issue of "mass market" is key here.

However, Le Freeswerve's "price rise" is nothing more than a PR stunt to make that point.

The ISP wants to see wholesale prices drop as low as £15 a month so that it can charge punters a retail price of around £25 a month for a domestic ADSL service.

Who doesn't? But pulling stunts like this isn't the way.

If Le Freeswerve was really serious about this issue, if it thought it genuinely had a case against BT concerning allegations of "institutionally restricting the market share of Freeserve and other competing broadband providers", as made by CEO John Pluthero, then it should initiate legal proceedings immediately. But it won't - because it says it wants to wait until Oftel has ruled on its original complaint.

Hang on though, hasn't it just said it has "no confidence" in Oftel, yet it is prepared to wait indefinitely for its ruling on the matter?

What a load a twaddle. ®

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