Why BT's plans are on hold
Friday 12 May 1995
But the British government has always banned BT from broadcasting (that is, sending signals simultaneously to many receivers), because radio and TV stations would not be able to fight back by offering phone services. In 1991, the Government extended its restriction on broadcasting to 2001, though it may review it in 1998.
However, in the past few years an extra element has entered the equation: cable television companies, aided by tax concessions, are providing TV channels such as Sky, as well as competing with BT to sell phone services.
BT has said repeatedly that this skews the market against it; the Government's answer is that it gives the fledgling cable companies a chance to establish themselves. But most are in fact owned by American telephone companies which are comparable in size with BT.
BT does not expect the MCI deal to change government policy overnight. But it suspects it might eventually lever open a door that has long been closed.
"Whatever happens in the US gets watched very closely by the British government," says Peter Cochrane, head of BT's research and development division. "The present situation in the UK is ludicrous. When we go to the US it's hard for us to get our way.
"The US government certainly doesn't do us any favours. Then back here the Government encourages foreign companies and clobbers us. We just want an equal basis for our global aspirations." CA
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...