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BB Inquiry Chairman Clashes With BT
By: MarkJ - 12 November, 2003 (1:27 PM)

It's reported that the Trade and Industry Select Committee chairman, MP Martin O'Neill, clashed with BT's boss Ben Verwaayen at yesterday’s broadband inquiry, calling the operator "arrogant":

"We're in a strong position," admitted Verwaayen, "not a dominant one". But you're "still the biggest beast in the jungle", said O'Neill. As the two men squared up, Verwaayen denied that BT was in a "privileged position in terms of infrastructure".

O'Neill asked what would happen if BT had a lower market share, a question harping back to earlier questioning about the break-up of BT. Splitting BT's wholesale and retail divisions, argued Verwaayen, would mean the company would not be able to come up with innovative broadband products.

"You're not the only innovator in the land - you've not been given a God-given right to innovate," snapped O'Neill. He added that many of BT's rivals accuse it of being "an arrogant organisation", a claim strongly defended by Verwaayen.

Stephen Timms, the government’s e-commerce minister, also used the event to call on broadband Internet providers to hasten its introduction across the country. More @ The Register.

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