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Oftel tinkers with FRIACO

A word in your arrear

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Oftel has introduced a wee measure it says should help cut the costs associated with providing unmetered dial-up Net access.

Until now, operators have had to pay BT in advance for the wholesale unmetered Net access product FRIACO (Flat Rate Internet Access Call Origination).

That's now changed, with operators able to pay in arrears, which the telecoms regulator claims will result in cost savings.

Said Oftel chief David Edmonds: "Under BT's original arrangements for unmetered Internet access, operators had to pay in advance for the capacity they required.

"Under Oftel's new arrangements, operators will pay in arrears for unmetered Internet access. This is in line with BT's charging arrangements for metered Internet access, and will make it easier for operators to manage their payments for unmetered Internet access.

"Oftel has decided that these arrangements should be retrospective, so BT will have to refund to operators the additional costs they incurred from having to make advance payments," he said.

So will these cost savings trickle through to consumers? What do you think.

Elsewhere, Oftel has still to rule on proposals to impose a 7 per cent cut in BT's wholesale charge for unmetered Internet access.

In February Oftel said that it now had sufficient data to make an accurate calculation of BT's costs and with it the appropriate wholesale price. ®

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