OPINION

OTE and the cost of Internet connection

There has been much debate of late about whether the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) had the right to attempt to virtually double its costs for connection to the Internet. OTE claimed that the increased costs of providing the service forced its decision, which it eventually revoked following a public outcry. But the real question is whether a public utility should have the right to make such decisions and attempt to impose them upon consumers during an era when electronic media are becoming increasingly indispensable. OTE maintained that its charges for Internet connection had been underpriced – by between 55 percent and 78 percent – since their establishment in 1999 and that they have not been increased since then, which has not been the case with other providers, they say. And even after OTE’s intended hikes, the connection price would still have been underpriced by 32 percent, according to the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT). But EETT’s interjection merely serves to convince us that it had not merely been informed about the hike but had probably been involved in planning it. Many critics comment that the costs borne by OTE – and other public utilities – are weighed down by wastefulness, mismanagement and a string of misdeeds. But this observation hardly helps address the problem.