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Oftel To Soften Unmetered Regulation
By: MarkJ - 27 August, 2003 (1:12 PM)

Following several market reviews the UK telecoms regulator, Oftel, has proposed a number of regulator changes to the European Commission. Softer BT FRIACO (unmetered dialup) regulation and wholesale BT ISDN are among them:

Some of the key measures that Oftel proposes to introduce are:

* - A reduction in regulation in wholesale international call routes. Seven years ago regulation covered all international calls these new proposals will mean that only five per cent of call minutes are regulated;

* - A reduction in regulation in wholesale unmetered Internet termination, where the availability of FRIACO means that other operators are able to compete with BT in the market supplying services to Internet Service Providers and hence regulation on BT can be withdrawn;

* - The maintenance of price controls in retail markets to ensure the lowest spending consumers remain protected as competition develops;

* - The maintenance of regulation to allow other operators to compete in retail calls market through carrier pre-selection, indirect access and the new wholesale line rental product; and

* - New regulation to require BT to provide a wholesale ISDN service for operators that want to compete in the business market.

The documents also set out Oftel's view that the definition of narrowband Internet access used in the market review documents should be restricted to dial-up services which do not offer always-on connectivity or the ability to access the Internet and use voice services simultaneously.

The Commission now has one month to comment on Oftel's proposals before Oftel publishes its final decisions. UK industry and consumer groups also have a further opportunity to comment on Oftels proposals during this period.

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