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Entanet Welcomes New ADSL Migration Rules

Posted: 14th Dec, 2006 By: MarkJ
Wholesale provider Entanet has welcomed Ofcom's new broadband ADSL migration rules, but stresses the importance of strong and effective enforcement for it to be successful. They also cover some interesting concerns with unbundled lines (LLU):

Carol Davies, Entanet’s Business Development Manager – Data, says: “The changes Ofcom has made are very positive but they will not be effective unless the rules are strictly enforced and Ofcom comes down really hard on companies that don’t follow them in a timely manner. If Ofcom does not use its powers to investigate and act against service providers who flaunt the rules, it’ll be British businesses and consumers who will suffer, as they will not be given the freedom of choice that Ofcom is supposed to protect.”

Entanet has always given MACs to customers when requested but is aware of many customers who have wanted to migrate to its service but have been unable to because their current provider refuses to issue a MAC. Davies states: “Some potential customers have told us of various excuses, or reasons, given to them as to why their incumbent ISP is unable to provide a MAC. Ofcom’s new regulation will ensure that all Providers have to have processes in place to allow a user to obtain a MAC. BT Wholesale makes it very easy for ISPs to request a MAC using XML and in most cases a MAC can be available within hours – there are no valid excuses”.

Under the Communications Act 2003, the two principal duties of Ofcom are set out as being “to further the interests of citizens in relation to communications matters”; and ”to further the interests of consumers in relevant markets, where appropriate by promoting competition.”

Entanet also draws attention to issues now arising with LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) that also need Ofcom’s urgent and decisive attention. Under BT’s current charging structure, users who migrate from an LLU supplier are currently being compelled to pay a new activation fee of £40, rather than the usual £11 for migrations between non-LLU providers. Entanet believes this is unfair and could dissuade some users from making a switch away from LLU. As part of its migrations policy, Entanet absorbs the £11 charge but is unable to waiver the higher £40 fee.

Entanet is also hearing complaints from potential customers who have been moved to LLU without either their knowledge or approval. Davies says: “Several of the LLU providers are moving customers over from their IPStream platform to LLU without the customers’ knowledge. Customers are coming to us with the intention of migrating, only to find that they’re currently on LLU. This means that it will cost them to move, hence taking away their freedom of choice.”

Entanet’s points all have merit and ultimately the regulators ability to govern the market will be tested. The final point regarding users being moved from BT’s IPStream platform to the providers own LLU network, often without approval by the customer, is more complex.

It would be better to level the playing field between IPS and LLU then develop a whole new rule, but the technical differences between platforms makes this difficult.
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