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Re: IP: Re: who won the US Revolution? The English (BT) may win it all back
At 07:45 PM 11/5/96 -0500, Mike Bilow wrote:
>This is an interesting forward. I don't know very much personally about UK
>telephone rates, but I do know from Fidonet -- an international store and
>forward echo net which uses dial-up transfers -- that people in the UK often
>end up coerced into doing utterly stupid things. Fidonet, for example, has an
>administrative structure based on geography, consistent with the US situation
>where it generally costs more to call further away. However, UK Fidonet nodes
>often have to call long distance to get a cheaper per-minute rate than they
>would have to pay for local access. It would be interesting to hear comments
>from people are better informed than I am about the UK rates.
I did a little looking into UK phone rates last year. Interesting place.
Noting the exchange rate lately is what, $1.50 or so per quid? A little more?
Originally, British Post Office was the monopoly provider; BT was spun off
and privatized. Like most of Europe, there was no flat rate service. Local
calls always cost money. Then Mercury was created, adding long distance
competition. Then the market really opened up. Nowadays it's fully
competitive. Local and LD are both open to any qualified comers. (Not like
the US where any crook can submit a rip-off charge or slam, since carriers
need to be qualified and licensed, but there are a couple of dozen active
There is no distinction between LD and local carriers. Carriers hand off
traffic to each other on a share-the-revenue arrangement. That is, you pay
the next carrier to carry their fraction of the call that you (the
originating carrier) bill the subscriber for. So a carrier is paid
indirectly to receive calls. This is the opposite of the US model where
LECs are paid by LD carriers at both ends. The UK model is more "peer to peer".
ISDN PRI is around UKP350/month. (Does SMTP support a "pounds" symbol?)
That's what ISPs usually use, noting that UK PRI is 30B+D.
Local calls on BT range from around 4p/minute at day rate down to around 1p
on weekends. That's pretty stiff! Most other local carriers (mostly cable
companies, like NYNEX Cablecomms and United Artists, which is partially
owned by US West) charge similar rates, minus a few percent. However, some
of them offer free cable-to-cable calling during off-peak or maybe just
weekend hours. Not daytime though. Some Internet junkies are no doubt using
Local calling areas are pretty big. Usually one or more city codes are
aggregated into a calling area, with local calls extending to adjacent
areas. So all of Greater London is a local call to itself, and some nearby
suburbs (say, 20 miles out) also can call London. "Regional calls" are toll
calls under something like 35 miles. Those range on BT from 8.23p daytime
to 3.29p nighttime, with discount plans available. (They had a "Friends and
Family" plan a long time ago, presaging their MCI acquisition.) "National
calls" are the rest, which on BT are 9.78p daytime down to 3.29p on
weekends. Other carriers are almost by definition cheaper, as BT sets the
Some creative tariffs exist. Energis, for instance, has a "virtual POP"
service in which they give you numbers in many cities and haul the calls
back to one spot for a fixed per-channel rate. It's cheaper than 800
numbers, which also exist, or even 0345 numbers which are like 800 but the
caller pays "local" rates, so the called party pays less than for getting
800 calls. Energis makes its money two ways. There's the monthly rent you
pay for the service, and then there's the per-minute charge that they
*receive* from the originating telco; even though it's a local number, they
still split the pennies since they're delivering the call. Some of the
local telco competitors popping up in the US are onto this and are setting
high accounting rates with the RBOCs too.
Note that ISDN calls are at parity with voice calls. ISDN line BRI monthly
rates are something like twice analog, but the installation charges are
My info's about a year old so somebody feel free to correct me.
Fred R. Goldstein email@example.com
BBN Corp. Cambridge MA USA +1 617 873 3850