World Online plans to increase the price of its unmetered internet service by almost £10 a month and introduce a per-minute charge for heavy users.
According to World Online, the pricing changes are necessary because of delays to BT's wholesale flat-rate internet access origination (Friaco) tariff. It said ISPs are restricted in the pricing and cost of unmetered services until Friaco is widely available. Altavista used the same excuse for the non-appearance of its unmetered service.
The announcement comes just over a month after World Online said "it will stand by its promise of free internet calls". Laurence Alexander, managing director of consumer services at World Online, said at the time: "We were the first company to offer free internet calls and we have no intention of going back on our word."
World Online today revised the pricing for its Freedom 24 and Freedom Lite services. Users for Freedom 24, which offers 100 hours of free internet calls, will now have to pay an extra £9.26 line rental per month on top of the £14.99 monthly flat-rate charge. If customers use more than the 100 hours they will also be charged a penny per minute.
Freedom Lite offers 50 hours of free internet access per month (off peak) for £9.26 line rental, plus £2.99 monthly flat-rate charge. Any calls over the 50 hours will be charged at a penny per minute.
Existing customers will be moved to the new tariffs on 11 October. New customers will pay the charges immediately.
David Watson, a spokesman for World Online, said: "We have had to make a change to the pricing as there is a disconnect between the cost of provision [of the service] and the pricing cost. We have brought the pricing into line with our cost base.
"Over 80 per cent of our customers use the service for 90 hours or less, so they still benefit from an unmetered package. We will shortly announce our DSL services. The high users are prime candidates for broadband."
World Online said it has contacted all its existing customers and they will been given 21 days notice before the price changes are implemented. The company said it will review the pricing again when Friaco is fully available.
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