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BT Calls For USO Relaxation
By: MarkJ - 22 March, 2005 (9:04 AM)

Ofcom's Universal Service Obligation (USO) ensures that BT must provide a core set of services (lines capable of delivering dialup net access etc.) to all UK consumers. However, BT is now looking to relax some of the rules:

It wants to see the funding of the USO changed so that other telcos cough up too. It also wants the chance to remove loss-making phone boxes and wants to means test those who opt for its "light" tariff packages.

The UK's dominant provider - which is battling against increased competition in its retail business - is unhappy that it is having to fork out around 70m a year to meet its USO when other telcos are excused, reports the FT.

The UK Competitive Telecommunications Association (UKCTA) - made up of rival telcos including Cable & Wireless, Colt, Energis, NTL and Thus - doesn't believe the current set-up needs changing.

It doesn't appear unfair of BT to request a fairer funding change, although the UKCTA is unlikely to agree unless a cost benefit analysis shows that BT would be "significantly worse off". More @ The Register.

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