NTL is to start charging users for its previously free internet service in a bid to slash its £12bn debt. But while not exactly welcoming the move, users have branded the pricing structure as "fair".
Existing NTL World users will have to pay £5 per month from 1 January to receive 'anytime' internet access. New users will get slapped with a £10 per month charge.
But a number of the service's 600,000 users, chatting on UK unmetered internet discussion forum Net4Nowt.com, said that the pricing decision "seems fair" because NTL is still cheaper than the competition.
"No one likes price increases, but NTL still undercuts the competition. I guess there will be lots of hot air about, but I do not think many users will leave NTL," wrote one user.
Another added: "This does seem like a fair deal. People have been saying for ages they'd be prepared to pay a tenner if the service was good."
But others think that the price hike is more likely to be an effort on NTL's part to get NTL World users to move up to more expensive broadband connections.
"I suspect that another reason NTL has introduced the £10 charge is to try to get users to move onto broadband. If you compare the £10 for a 56K service with a two hour cut off and 15 minutes idle time, their 128K cable offering at £14.99 starts to look like a very desirable choice," stated one user.
NTL launched the free service in March 2000 and encountered stumbling blocks from the start. Like many other UK service providers, the main problem being too much demand and lack of coverage.
Customers in some areas are still unable to obtain the service and those outside the cable company's area are required to spend a minimum of £15 a month on telephone calls.
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