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Oftel backs Worldcom BT Surftime complaints

Uncompetitive wholesale product

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Oftel has slapped BT for failing to be competitive. The monster telco felt the back of the winged watchdog's paw today after it appeared to uphold a complaint by MCI Worldcom that BT's SurfTime proposals failed to offer other operators the opportunity of providing their own wholesale flat rate unmetered Net access service. MCI Worldcom did try to appeal to BT's better nature and negotiate with the monster telco but was turned down on December 15 last year. Not content with being fobbed off, MCI Worldcom then complained to the regulator on Christmas Eve. So much for the season of goodwill. The ruling today is only a draft direction and will not be finalised until June 1. However, it suggests that the winged watchdog is not happy. A spokeswoman for the winged watchdog said: "We are concerned by the MCI Worldcom complaint and are keen that an appropriate wholesale product is available." A spokesman for MCI Worldcom said: "We wanted BT to give us the option of launching a wholesale flat rate Internet access service "All we wanted was competition -- Oftel's ruling is in our favour," he said. A spokeswoman for BT said the telco is looking into the matter and will respond to Oftel in due course. Launched in December and relaunched a number of times since, BT SurfTime is a wholesale product made available to ISPs by BT enabling them to offer their customers unmetered access to the Net. Allegedly. ®

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