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More competition for flat-tariff Internet use: KPN has to assist with new types of Internet access

Now it will also be possible to access the Internet through the telephone network for a flat tariff, that is to say, unmetered. In addition, it will be possible to pay KPN’s competitors for all Internet calls routed through the telephone network, as in the case of carrier selection. In this respect, from now on consumers will only receive a bill from their Internet service provider. At present many pay a subscription tariff to their provider and metered call charges to KPN. This is the result of a decision taken by OPTA in a dispute involving KPN and MCI WorldCom. This will boost competition in the Internet access market place via both metered and unmetered calls. OPTA anticipates that this will result in the provision of cheap Internet access, thereby making the Internet appealing to more people. In this way it will be possible for more Dutch residents to access the digital highway via the route which is the most favourable to them.

Within several weeks KPN will have to make its competitor, MCI WorldCom, an offer for two new types of access to the former’s network. This is what OPTA has decided during proceedings to resolve a dispute between KPN and MCI WorldCom. The latter will be able to introduce new tariff structures based on the types of access ordered by OPTA via KPN’s network. In turn, this will enable Internet service providers (ISPs) to offer consumers new ways of accessing the Internet through the telephone network. The first new way will make it possible for MCI WorldCom to levy charges itself for those Internet calls which reach its own network via KPN’s network. This will be done by means of bills sent out by the Internet service provider. In this way it will be possible for MCI WorldCom to charge a different metered tariff from that levied by KPN.

The second new form will make it possible to offer all-in Internet subscriptions, that is to say, Internet access for a flat tariff without unmetered call charges. At present we are aware that this is only being done by cable service providers. A wide variety of Internet access alternatives on offer could boost competition in the market for unmetered Internet access and consequently also in relation to price. In principle, KPN is also required to start offering these new types of access to telecommunications companies other than MCI WorldCom.