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June 7, 1987

OFTEL TO INVESTIGATE TELECOM PLAN TO HIKE PHONE INFORMATION SERVICE TAGS

By CBR Staff Writer

William Hill, the bookmaking subsidiary of Sears Holdings Plc, has complained to the UK Office of Telecommunications, Oftel, about a plan by British Telecom to increase charges for most of its pre-recorded information services, according to the Financial Times. Under the plan, all information services would be charged at the premium rates presently the preserve mainly of busty models murmuring titillating messages, and services that can’t bear the higher charges would be terminated. William Hill says that if the plan comes into operation, people will be paying up to eight times more to hear the racing results than they currently pay on cheap rate calls. It claims that the money it gets from Telecom for providing information on the public telecommunications network barely cover its costs as an information provider. If the plan goes ahead, subscribers to the 20 or so services such as FT Cityline and the cricket scoreline will have to pay the premium rates rather than standard call charges; Telecom says it would split the increased income equally with information providers.

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