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Embattled LocalTel takes swipe at BT

Under siege from disgruntled users, telco wants compensation

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The Register has learned that LocalTel -- the wholesale telco retailer behind the Screaming.net ISP -- is to seek compensation from BT over the transfer of customers to its new service. Lawyers are finalising the exact details of the claim now but it appears LocalTel could be looking for a seven or eight figure sum from BT. The compensation claim comes after LocalTel accused BT of working at a snail's pace holding up thousands of Net users who wanted to switch telcos and take advantage of toll-free access to the Internet. At one point only 250 applications were being processed a day by BT despite the fact that up to 3,000 people a day were registering for the service. As a result, some people have had their phones cut off while others have received bills from both telcos. At the height of the problems the situation was describe as "ludicrous" by LocalTel's MD Jeremy Stokes. A spokesman for BT said he was aware that legal action may be in the offing but was unable to comment further. ®

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