At last some good news for UK internet users: they face some of the highest access charges in the world, but prices are coming down.
A study conducted by international development panel the OECD placed the UK’s internet charges at around 60 percent higher than those paid by US users.
Average global internet dial-up costs, according to the OECD report based on 20 countries, were 10 percent lower than in the UK.
As a general rule the OECD found that countries with more ISPs had lower access rates. Canada was the exception to the rule, having almost half as many ISPs at America but costing about twice as much.
Richard Barrington, director for industry at the office of the E-Envoy (part of the Cabinet Office), called for universal access to the net.
"Internet prices are continually falling,” he said. He also pointed to the government’s new IT training schemes as the other part of the puzzle in getting people online.
Many small businesses are experiencing internet cost problems first-hand. Jacqueline Attwood, pub landlady, has had several problems.
“Our business is not big enough to benefit from flat-fee access,” Attwood said. “But we are missing out on savings offered to individuals, and seem to fall into the gap between individuals and larger businesses.”
The good news is costs are definitely falling. “There are more and more flat-fee and subscription offers for [small businesses]," said Jan Dawson, researcher at IT analyst firm Durlacher. "Compared to the rest of Europe prices are fairly good and continue to fall."