The head of communication services at comparison site uSwitch, Steve Weller, has criticised some of the UK's unbundled (LLU) ISP's for financially penalising customers living outside of their unbundled networks:
“The new tariffs introduced by AOL bring into sharp focus the digital divide that is forming between LLU and non-LLU households.
“It's simply not acceptable that one customer may be paying £19.99 a month for a service of up to 1Mbps yet their friends down the road could be paying just £14.99 for a 2Mbps service – as is the case with UK Online - just because their postcode happens to fall under their provider's LLU hit list,” Weller said.
“Fortunately, companies including Orange, Tiscali and Pipex are not succumbing to this regional discrimination policy but who's to say they won't jump on the bandwagon soon?"
The Web-User item will no doubt echo most among AOL UK's customers, with those (new users) on lines that haven’t been unbundled being forced to stump up an unreasonable £10 additional monthly surcharge.
It’s understandable that a provider might want to offer some form of financial incentive to customers in order to entice them onto a new platform, but this can easily be taken too far and creates a two tier system of discrimination. Not that they’d care, some providers fail to clearly inform users when they’re being swapped onto an unbundled platform from BT’s, which can cause problems with migration later on.
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