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Oftel spurns calls for Net regulations

Consumers are getting the service they want, apparently

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The telecomms watchdog Oftel has dealt a massive blow to Net users today after it said that the UK was already benefiting from competition within the industry. It also threw its weight behind the government's line that the cost of Net access in the UK should not be regulated and that it should be left up to the market to decide. The statement -- part of its response to an inquiry into ecommerce by a group of MPs -- believes the explosion of subscription-free ISPs is proof that competition is working. What's more, it claims consumers are happy with the way things are -- a view that is likely to be challenged by many people. "We consider that the rapid changes which are taking place are indicative of a competitive market," said Oftel. "The market is already beginning to deliver the choice consumers want. "Oftel takes the view that the appropriate structure of tariffs is a commercial decision best left to companies themselves – provided, of course, that any proposed tariffs meet the terms and conditions of an operator’s licence. "In BT's case, this means that we need to be assured that any changes are not anti-competitive or discriminate unfairly between customers," said Oftel. ®

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