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Guernsey Telecoms Denies Involvement In AOL Service Reduction Move

by Amanda Banks,, London

01 October 2002

Guernsey Telecoms has disclaimed responsibility for AOL's decision to pull the plug on its flat-rate connection service for internet users on the Island.

AOL recently announced that from October 16, it will no longer be able to offer unlimited access for £15.99 a month to GT customers, owing to intransigence on the telecom provider's part.

'In future, we will only be able to offer the flat-rate price plan to members who access AOL using a line provided by BT, NTL or Telewest,' Bridget Mitchell from the ISP's Member Services Department stated, explaining that: 'This is necessary because we require an underlying unmetered connection from your telephone company to offer the service on a flat-rate basis.'

She continued: 'Unlike telephone companies serving the vast majority of our members, and despite continued lobbying, the un-metered connection currently offered to us by the telephone provider is not sustainable.'

However, according to a report from the Guernsey Press and Star at the weekend, this is news to Guernsey Telecoms.

In an interview with the local newspaper on Friday, GT Chief Executive, Jeremy Thompson explained that that he has not spoken to AOL since January:

'I am surprised at their commercial decision with respect to their ISP offering. We were not notified of their intention,' he stated, adding that: 'We have not altered or changed in any way pricing or access to AOL. This is not a result of anything we have done, it is a commercial decision [by AOL]...They are pointing the finger at us and other jurisdictions , which is not the case.'

Also speaking to the Press and Star, Regina Finn, director-general of the Office of Utility Regulation revealed that the OUR was aware of AOL's decision, but that:

'The OUR understands that GT has not altered the underlying arrangements for access by its customers to AOL's services and that GT is open to discussing those underlying arrangements with AOL or any other ISP. The OUR will continue to seek a response from AOL on the reasons for this commercial decision by the company to change its pricing plans.'

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