AOL has greeted BT’s announcement of new Internet telephone charges with a “cautious welcome”, but warned that the pricing was still too high.

AOL UK, a division of AOL Europe, released a.statement in response to BT’s proposals (see Daily News story), saying: “Of the five tariffs proposed, the only truly unmetered option – ‘BT Anytime Internet’ – would cost consumers £34.99 a month in addition to the cost of subscription to an Internet Service provider.

“This is almost double the cost of Internet telephone access in the United States, where highly cost-effective and unmetered local telephone calls enable millions of consumers to make the online medium a central part of their daily lives.”

AOL also took the opportunity to take some of the credit for the changes. Andreas Schmidt, CEO of AOL Europe said: “While it is gratifying to see that BT have at last accepted the logic of what we at AOL have been saying for many months now, we’re disappointed by the high costs proposed.”

Schmidt went on to voice concern that the tariff appears to be available only from BT and might not be made available to other telecomms operators. “These issues raise serious questions about the potential for open competition which should warrant careful scrutiny by the UK regulator, Oftel,” he said.