The UK telecoms watchdog Oftel is still in lengthy discussion with BT over its proposed ?pay-as-you surf? service which the telephone operator claims will still go live in the next couple of weeks.
The service, dubbed Click, will offer customers direct access to the Internet without having to subscribe to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). It has already come under heavy criticism, however, from ISPs who are worried about the impact it will have on their business. They are concerned it will provide an easy route for illegal Internet business as criminals will be almost impossible to trace.
BT maintains the service will expand the Internet marketplace, enabling newcomers to sample the Net at a low cost and without commitment. BT customers will pay around one pence per minute extra to access the Internet on a local charge basis.
An Oftel spokesman confirmed that it has been having talks for some time over the proposed service following concerns raised by industry bodies such as the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA). ?They have yet to formally represent the final service, so we cannot make any decisions until then,? an Oftel spokesperson told ?VNU Newswire?. ?BT ran a small trial of the service, but like all trials it does not mean it will be the final service launched,? said the spokesperson.
Oftel declined to comment on BT?s plans to take the service live this month. ?All I can say is we have yet to be notified,? said the watchdog?s spokesperson.
BT Click differs from other ISP accounts in that it has no registration, connection charges, premium number or log on, which means people using the service are non-traceable. BT claims it will overcome this by putting in a tracking system to trace users.
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