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Unmetered ISPs bowled over by demand

Consumers scramble for flat rate offers

As predicted in the Stop the Clock feature in the August issue of PC Advisor, consumers have been inundated with a variety of offers for flat rate unmetered web surfing. Some of the offers have become victims of their own success.

NTL appears to have been one of the main players to suffer because of its popularity. Despite over 100,000 people now using the service satisfactorily there remain a further 600,000 still waiting for their disk to arrive.

Some readers have emailed us and have now been waiting four months for a disk to arrive. NTL claims that anyone who has to wait longer than a month will receive a letter or email but many of you out there have received nothing of the sort.

The company now faces flak for its advertising campaign. Following complaints from disgruntled consumers the Advertising Standards Authority is currently investigating the company.

A spokesman for the ASA said that it "had received a hundred complaints so far [and that] a number that high is normally only generated by issues of taste and decency." Consumers are unhappy because they feel that NTL’s campaign implied that the service was available immediately.

Setting up an unmetered service is not an easy undertaking and giving out CDs freely creates its own problems as Liberty Surf quickly found out.

This ISP, not covered in the original feature, launched its unmetered service 12 May. The disks were available through the MVC and Comet stores. On 1 June, the company had to make the decision to stop giving the disks out after widespread network congestion and a jammed helpline risked running the system into the ground.

The free disks remain unavailable although the website promises they will be soon. Liberty Surf is offering users a free month of surfing in compensation or a full refund if customers decide to terminate their service.

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