France Telecom, which has come under increasing pressure from Internet surfers complaining about high telephone charges, is to offer a flat fee for Internet access.
Speaking at the Forum de l?Information et de la Haute Technologie in Paris Michel Bon, France Telecom?s chief executive confirmed that it will offer a flat fee structure for Internet access, but not until it is approved by the regulators.
The news was welcomed by the Association of Unhappy Internauts which called another Web strike last Sunday in protest against France Telecom?s high charges. They claim exorbitant telephone charges are hobbling Internet usage in France.
As the country?s monopoly provider of local services, France Telecom provides the gateway for most users in France to get onto the Internet. Bon did not go into any detail, but said one of the company?s strategies is to make the Internet more accessible by lowering local phone charges.
Customers will see a, ?Quick and substantial decrease in costs,? he said. Bon claimed, however, that France Telecoms rates are still amongst the lowest in Europe.
Bon said that France, which has dragged its feet behind the rest of Europe in adopting the Internet, has to catch up. Analysts believe France has been slow on Internet uptake because consumers have online service Minitel.
Bon said that telecommunications companies can do much to popularise the Internet by offering services to make access easier.
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