BT has confirmed it will be offering toll free Internet access for its BT Internet customers from this weekend.
News of BT's plans slipped out last week when BT Internet's helpdesk told VNU Newswire that it would be offering the free service in June. BT's press office had earlier denied any such plans were in place, saying it was just speculation. (see Newswire 26 May)
Information on the new service has now been posted on the BT Internet site and the company said today that no further information would be made available.
From midnight on Friday 4 June until midnight Sunday 6 June and every weekend afterwards, customers will be able to access the Internet using a 0800 number. They will need to downloaded new 'dialler' software from the BT Internet Web site.
The offer is only available to existing Plan Unlimited Internet account holders, which costs £11.75 a month for unlimited Internet use, including free Voice over IP.
Even though Internet usage during the free period is unlimited, customers will be automatically logged out after two hours of usage or 20 minutes of inactivity. Customers will be able to redial immediately but may be faced with problems reconnecting as the attraction of free calls will no doubt bring many weekend Web surfers to their modems.
Questions have been raised as to the fairness of BT using its monopoly position to attract customers with the offer of free calls, but for the moment, telecoms regulatory body Oftel seems happy.
"Our initial appraisal suggests it won't have any adverse effects on competition for the Internet access market due to the wide variety of services available," said an Oftel spokesperson today. "But we will closely monitor the situation and investigate any customer complaints."
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