NEW BT pricing packages offering customers unlimited Internet access will only benefit travel agents who are heavy users, according to ABTA.

BT claims the cost of going on-line will be reduced if the regulator Oftel allows it to introduce five new monthly fees for Internet users this spring.

Under the BT Surftime proposals, payments will vary depending on whether users opt for unlimited access during business hours, at weekends or in the evenings.

However, ABTA chief executive Ian Reynolds said agents would have to be on-line at least 40 minutes a day to make it worth paying BT’s £26.99 monthly fee for unlimited daytime access on weekdays.

He claimed that agents who have already negotiated a discounted telephone rate with BT would have to use the Internet even more heavily to break even.

Meanwhile, agents who use the Internet outside the daytime weekday period will be charged 1p a minute for access.

“It is a pity the package doesn’t include Saturdays,” said Reynolds. “A penny a minute is not that different from the weekend tariff at present.”

Paul Richer, senior partner at travel technology consultancy Genesys, said: “BT isn’t giving anything away. This is more or less a repackaging of its present price structure.”

He pointed out that users would have to be on-line for nearly 90mins a day at weekends to make it worth paying £6.99 for a monthly weekend package.