Demand to keep free calls

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 April, 1996, 12:00am

CUSTOMERS should not be charged for local calls so long as they are using their phones for conversations only, three major political parties said yesterday.

At an RTHK forum, the Democratic Party, the Association for the Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) said the existing flat-rate pricing structure for residential lines should stay.

Democratic Party legislator Sin Chung-kai said: 'What we are most worried about is the general telephone services for residential households. It's better not to change the current pricing structure in this area.' He said the party would adopt a more open attitude towards the pricing structure on new non-telephonic applications such as the use of fax machines, or other on-line services.

Chan Kam-lam of DAB agreed that Internet or fax users should pay extra for non-telephonic applications.

Law Cheung-kwok of ADPL also gave a thumbs down to the Government's proposal to alter the existing pricing structure.

Meanwhile, Lam Pun-lee, of the Department of Business Studies of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, criticised the regulatory reform in the telecommunications industry as 'piecemeal'.