Colt attacks BT and Oftel for delays in local loop unbundling

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Paul Chisholm, chief executive of Colt Telecom, Europe's biggest competitive local exchange carrier, yesterday added to the growing pressure on British Telecom and Oftel to speed up local loop unbundling.

Paul Chisholm, chief executive of Colt Telecom, Europe's biggest competitive local exchange carrier, yesterday added to the growing pressure on British Telecom and Oftel to speed up local loop unbundling.

"The UK process that was set up between BT and Oftel doesn't work," Mr Chisholm said. "Are we annoyed? Absolutely."

He brushed aside claims by e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt that Britain had not fallen behind Germany in unbundling. "I can get an unbundled loop in Germany," Mr Chisholm said. "I can't get one here." He added: "We would like [unbundling] accelerated. BT is being given an unfair advantage."

Local loop unbundling is to become law across Europe from 1 January. The directive is meant to stimulate market competition by giving alternative telecoms service providers access to the copper wires that link businesses and households to the national phone network.

Mr Chisholm also disputed BT claims that its local exchanges lack the space to install competitor's high-speed Net access equipment known as asymmetric digital subscriber lines. "I'm not sure that's factually correct," he said, referring to BT's claims that the exchanges are threatened by congestion.

In Germany, Mr Chisholm said Deutsche Telekom is required to offer local exchange access or an alternative if space is unavailable. In Britain, BT is not obliged to offer alternative arrangements. "It just isn't a fair process," he added.

Mr Chisholm's remarks came as the Communications Management Association, a wide-ranging group of UK business telecoms users, attacked David Edmonds, Oftel director general, for failing in his to provide effective competition.

A survey of business user attitudes to telecoms services found that 78 per cent of respondents said Oftel has failed to deliver effective nationwide competition. More than four in five or 86 per cent said the rollout of digital subscriber line services in Britain is too slow.

Comments