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* FRIACO model provides last chance for ISPs to develop substantial role
in the mass-market Internet value chain
* Slow implementation of FRIACO may damage the dynamics of the access market
* Unmetered access will not be an obstacle to the spread of broadband
* FRIACO is ultimately good news for incumbent operators too
* UK unmetered dial-up accounts set to double in the UK by 2003.

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CAMBRIDGE, UK, October 31, 2001 - Flat-rate Internet access call origination (FRIACO), regarded as the best interconnect model to ensure a viable business model for dial-up Internet services, will create the build-up of demand for broadband in Western Europe, according to a new report, FRIACO: how capacity-based interconnection strengthens the Internet market, published this week by Analysys, the global adviser on telecoms and new media (www.analysys.com).


The UK is still the only market in Europe where FRIACO-based services are widely available. Continued lobbying by leading Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and online operators (OLOs) has meant that FRIACO has been firmly placed on the regulators' agendas in ten other Western European countries. But different speeds of regulatory progress across the continent could create different dynamics, in not only the dial-up access market, but also the broadband access market and the networked economy as a whole.


"FRIACO is not merely a stopgap between pay-as-you-go (metered Internet access) and broadband, but more an important and effective migration path to mass-market broadband. It is the only viable way for ISPs and OLOs to offer unmetered access," says the report's author, Rupert Wood. "We believe that FRIACO will have a significant market for at least five years, and that it will not delay, but rather promote, the spread of broadband, by effectively building up and preparing a user base ready to take broadband services."


The overall number of active Internet access accounts in Western Europe is set to grow rapidly from 64 million towards the end of 2001 to more than 110 million by 2005, according to the new report. In the UK, where FRIACO is widely available, the number of FRIACO-based dial-up connections is set to rise by over 100% by 2003 (see Figure). "We do not believe that broadband can be priced attractively enough in the short term to attract those currently on metered dial-up services with low usage patterns," says Wood.

Figure: Total active accounts by account type in the UK, excluding cablecos [Source: Analysys Research, 2001] - see chart within attached word file.


The report concludes that FRIACO is good news for ISPs as it provides larger and more manageable revenue streams by turning active end-users into customers with subscriptions. Ironically, the key long-term beneficiaries, though they have long resisted unmetered access, will be the incumbent operators, because FRIACO-based services represent the most effective migratory path towards broadband access, an area which they dominate, both as quasi-monopolists in Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) infrastructure and as dominant DSL-based ISPs.


Written by Rupert Wood, the report provides an insight into the development of flat-rate interconnection in Western Europe. With the aid of data-rich forecasts, it indicates the likely effects of FRIACO models on Internet usage, and provides a series of recommendations for ISPs, OLOs and incumbent operators.


The report is available in two packages, priced at: US5, which includes single-user electronic access; US50, which includes single-user electronic access + one paper copy + one hour Analyst Support. For more information, please telephone Analysys Research on +44 (0)1223 341300 or email research@analysys.com.


About Analysys (www.analysys.com)


Analysys, the global advisor in telecoms, IT and new media, works at the forefront of the communications revolution, delivering advice and insight to established and new entrant players. From offices in Cambridge, London, Glasgow, Madrid, Milan, Paris, San Francisco and Washington DC, Analysys staff provide strategy and systems consultancy, conferences, information services and start-up support to the companies which are creating the networked economy. Analysys Research reports, papers and online services provide authoritative coverage of this convergent industry, based on an unrivalled ability to fuse real-world experience, rigorous research and forward-looking analysis.


Recent products include:

- Pricing GPRS Services (October 2001)
- Meeting the Challenges of GPRS Billing (October 2001)
- The Bandwidth Exchange: Herald of a New Carrier Age (September 2001)
- Public Wireless LAN Access: A Threat to Mobile Operators (September 2001)
- Controlling the 3G Value Chain (July 2001)
- Successfully Marketing Mobile Data Services to SMEs (July 2001)
- Where DTV and Home Storage will Disintermediate the Internet (July 2001)
- Gigabit Ethernet: the solution to the MAN bandwidth bottleneck? (July 2001)
- Market Realities of IP-VPNs (July 2001)
- Evaluating the Business Case for 3G Network Sharing (June 2001)
- Back to Basics: New Entrant Carrier Strategies in a Bear Market (June 2001)
- Maximising Revenues through Advanced Service Provision: The survival strategy for European
data centre operators (June 2001)
- Interactive Consumer Broadband: Sex, Sport and Shopping? (June 2001)
- IP Local Loop: Key Facts (April 2001)

Media contact (for interviews, report summaries and author photography):

Natalie Dargan
Analysys Research
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 341300
Email: natalie.dargan@analysys.com

Martin Brooke
Martin Brooke Associates
Tel: +44 (0)1223 264050
Email: martin.brooke@dial.pipex.com


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