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Oftel opens access for competitors to BT’s exchanges


The UK has now moved closer to gaining access to cheaper, faster internet services as Oftel published proposed charges for operators needing access to BT's local exchanges, known as the local loop.

The regulator has proposed a wholesale charge of £118 annual rental and £95 connection cost for a 'loop', that is the line from the exchange to the customer. Costs will also include a fee for internal tie cables connecting 100 loops to an operators equipemtn of £21 per year rental plus a £1,433 connection charge. This is seen as an important step forward for local loop unbundling and also enable BT to recover any reasonably incurred costs, plus a return on capital.

These charges are set to encourage competition in the provision of broadband services as previously it had been a somewhat contentious issue between BT and any competitors that could provide a service for cheaper or unmetered internet access.

Oftel have stated that they are to fix the charges before Christmas after having consulted with interested parties before the 4th December. Tariffs will then be fixed until the 1 April 2002 after which they will be reviewed again.


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