BT seeking to ease burden of £80m-a-year public service remit
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Sunday 18 February 2007
Ben Verwaayen, the chief executive of BT, has called for a review of the universal service obligation that legally binds the company to provide basic telecoms services to British homes.
Speaking about the universal service obligation at the 3GSM telecoms convention, which was held in Barcelona last week, Mr Verwaayen said: "The regulator should think about regulating on service rather than technology."
Telecoms analysts said that his comments provide a clear indication that Mr Verwaayen wants other communications companies - including, for example, Vodafone and Cable & Wireless - to contribute to fulfilling BT's commitments to universal service.
One said: "The universal service obligation was created in 1984 when BT was privatised. But the world has moved on since then and there are now several other powerful and wealthy telecoms groups in the UK that could arguably share the load."
BT's universal service obligations include providing special tariffs for poorer customers; a connection to the fixed-line network, which includes functional internet access; reasonable geographic access to public call boxes, and a range of services for customers with disabilities, including the text relay service.
Kingston Communications, which owns the fixed-line network in and around Hull, has similar obligations in its operating area. It is believed the universal service obligation costs BT about £80m per year.
One alternative would be to create a fund to which every big telecoms player would contribute. However, analysts believe that such a fund would be complex to set up and administer.
Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, completed a review of BT's operations last year. It is due to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of BT's universal service obligation later this year.
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...