Oftel Proposes Open Access to BT Network

In a report published this week,
Oftel, the UK’s
telecoms watchdog, has demanded the unbundling of BT’s local loop,
together with open access to BT’s forthcoming high speed data

The proposals are made in Oftel’s report, “Access to Bandwidth:
Proposals for Action,” in which Oftel suggests a twin-track
approach is needed in order to encourage the early introduction
of high speed data services to UK homes and businesses.

First, Oftel says that network operators other than BT should
be allowed to upgrade BT’s local telephone lines in order to
develop their own services.

Second, Oftel says it will make sure that other operators will
gain access to BT’s upgraded lines “at fair prices,” with customers
getting a proper choice of services.

“Oftel believes it is vital that homes and businesses have access to
this new technology and the services it will bring as soon as
possible,” said David Edmonds, director general of telecommunications.

“High speed communications technology is developing at a rapid pace.
This will revolutionise the types of services that can be delivered
over existing local telephone lines. One example is ‘always on’
high speed Internet access with unmetered charges.”

Oftel’s support for unmetered charges has placed the issue at
the top of the agenda in the UK, and it follows demands from
such companies as AOL (though notably not Freeserve) for action
to obtain “always on” Internet service.

On major questions relating to access to bandwidth, David Edmonds
said: “Regulatory uncertainty is removed from this key area of
future communications infrastructure.”

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