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France Telecom Offers Bundled Net Access and Call Charges.

France Telecom SA yesterday went live with the country's first flat-rate internet service to have net access and telephony costs bundled together. The move, which has been endorsed by the French telecoms regulator the Authorite de Regulation des Telecommunications (ART), could signal the first step towards an unmetered internet access model in Europe.

Forfait Libre @cces (Fixed Price Free Access), as the service is known, will provide users with 20 hours surfing at evenings and weekends for 100FF ($16). This works out at roughly 8 centimes (just under 2 cents) per minute, approximately the same price as UK net users pay for subscription-free internet access at weekends. Any connection above and beyond the 20 hours will be charged at normal rates.

The move is designed to stop "shock" phone bills and increase consumer interest in the web. Although the service will initially be available via France Telecom's Wanadoo internet service provider arm, the ART has forced the incumbent to allow access to the pricing model to other rival ISPs using its network.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 3, 1999
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