Half-price ADSL till October

Bowing to pressure from the Transport Ministry, telecoms operator OTE said yesterday it will extend its half-price monthly charge offer for ADSL services by an additional three months to early October. The decision came after a meeting between Transport Minister Christos Verelis, OTE Chief Executive Lefteris Antonakopoulos and Emmanuel Giakoumakis, head of regulatory watchdog the National Telecommunications and Post Commission yesterday. OTE unveiled rates for ADSL services early this month, setting off a barrage of criticism from both individuals and alternative carriers over the high charges. Monthly rates for individuals range from 55 to 189 euros and for alternative operators 49 to 168 euros, depending on the data rate. Signing up for the service costs 82 euros for both individuals and businesses. Alternative carriers complain that the high costs limit their profit margins. ADSL is an alternative broadband connection technology which delivers voice, video and data over existing telephone lines 10 to 40 times faster than conventional connections (PSTN). An always-on connection, ADSL allows the user to play interactive games and do multiple tasks at the same time such as download a file or browse the Web. «The 50 percent discount on monthly charges will be extended to early October beyond the initial three months,» OTE said yesterday. Last month, the Transport Ministry set an April deadline for the provision of ASDL services in response to OTE’s tardiness in offering the technology. It is hoping that faster and easier access will boost Internet usage in Greece, which is among the lowest in the EU.