NextCall prepares to sue for pounds 20m after seven-month telecoms network delay
Friday 03 December 1999
Based in Borehamwood, north London, NextCall began offering voice and Internet services to small businesses and residential customers in South- west England last January. Under calls and access regulations, BT must give alternative service providers access to the telecoms network.
"BT were messing us around," said Andrew Harrington, Nextcall's chief executive. "There is no mechanism to force BT to put in place the resources to make a service work."
NextCall claims that BT, and indeed David Edmonds, the director general of Oftel, failed to live up to regulatory provisions designed to help free up the telecoms market. The seven-month delay in obtaining access to BT's network cost NextCall millions of pounds, it is alleged.
Mr Harrington gave notice in August that NextCall would seek a judicial review for the Mr Edmonds' inaction. Since then, the director general has issued two provisional orders obligating BT to facilitate network access.
"This has resulted in an improvement," Mr Harrington said yesterday. "BT takes it seriously now, but from January to August I was friendless and I've suffered a huge financial loss."
Previously a European telecoms analyst with Salomon Smith Barney, Mr Harrington has pressed his concerns about Oftel's lack of effective clout with James Purnell, a member of the Prime Minister's policy unit who advises Tony Blair on telecoms issues. Mr Harrington fears that BT's dominance coupled with regulatory weakness threatens the Government's aim to make Britain a leader in e-commerce.
Indeed, Mr Edmonds recently admitted that it would be "daft" for him to say that Oftel had sufficient power to effectively force greater compliance with open access policies.
Network access is likely to become increasingly contentious as new operators launch high-speed digital Internet services. In mid-2001, BT is expected to offer operators access to lines to install their own high-speed digital subscriber line (DSL) equipment, following the launch in April 2000 of its own high-speed Internet access.
Oftel is in talks with BT about amending BT's licence to ensure that effective access doesn't suffer the delays experienced under the calls and access provisions.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Iraq crisis: Government forces execute 255 Sunni prisoners in revenge for Isis atrocities, says report
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...