UK ends 'free' Internet access
Jul 30, 1998
From midnight tomorrow all UK universities will be charged 2 pence for every Megabyte of information they receive from the US over the Internet. The United Kingdom Education & Research Networking Association (UKERNA), the organization that runs JANET, the UK's academic network, will start sending out quarterly bills in November. Institutions that do not settle their bill in 14 days will have their Internet connection cut off. The bills will be as high as £100000 per year for some of the UK's largest universities. In the longer term, both UKERNA and universities are looking to introduce individual charges for all users, including students.
The charges are designed to help fund the soaring costs of international Internet access from the UK. Over the past four years access costs have risen from £1 million ($1.7 m) to £7 million ($11.1 m). However, the speed at which UKERNA has introduced charging has caught many departments by surprise. UKERNA calls the new fees "token charges" and hints that, in the future, different levels of bandwidth speed will be charged at different rates. Under the new scheme, for example, there is no access charges between 1am and 6am.
UKERNA hopes to raise between £2.2 and £2.6 million from the charges - about 10 percent of its annual budget. And in the long term the organization hopes to receive over 30 percent of its income from charging.