Internet access charges should be cut to attract more users, a legislator said yesterday. Cable and Wireless HKT (formerly Hongkong Telecom) charges $0.033 per minute for hooking up to an Internet service provider via its network. The fee, called a PNETS (public non-exclusive telecommunication service) charge, is fixed by the Telecommunication Authority. It is paid to Cable and Wireless HKT on top of a service charge levied by the Internet service provider. The call for a reduction came from information technology legislator Sin Chung-kai, who said Cable and Wireless HKT had made $260 million from the service between July last year and June this year. The Democrat legislator said the Telecommunication Authority should consider reducing the charge by half. 'Tung [Chee-hwa] has been eager to promote internet usage. High PNETS charges will be an obstacle for Hong Kong in developing information technology. Reduction will enable more hopefuls to surf on the Web.' He expected an average user would have his or her annual PNETS bill reduced from $400 to a range of $200 to $260 by this reduction. The Telecommunication Authority said the PNETS charge was revised last year. A spokeswoman said the charge was being reviewed in light of the fall in the operating cost of telephone lines over the past year. She said further reduction would be considered, but doubted if it would reach 50 per cent. The charge dropped from $0.09 to $0.03 last year. 'The level is relatively low compared to other countries,' she said.