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Oftel has banged the heads together of a number of telcos and hardware suppliers after they failed to agree to technical guidelines for unbundling the local loop.

The public and embarrassing ticking-off of some of the biggest names in the Net industry -- including BT, MCI Worldcom, Energis and NTL -- is further evidence that Oftel means business and will not tolerate foot-dragging over the introduction of broadband service in Britain.

Today's muscle-flexing announcement centres on the 'Access Network Frequency Plan' -- the guidelines necessary to ensure that any equipment installed by an operator does not cause interference with another operator's equipment.

It's a highly technical, yet very important, element of the overall plan to open up Britain's telephone network to competition, said a spokeswomn for Oftel. and broadband services.

According to Oftel, the industry group charged with producing proposals by the end of the month failed to come up with an agreement.

Which is why the winged watchdog stepped in and issued its own proposals.

Hardman David Edmonds, Director General of Oftel said: "Oftel set a challenging timetable for local loop unbundling and I am determined to ensure that the timetable is met.

"Oftel has published the draft plan to ensure that there is no interference between equipment installed on unbundled local loops. Since industry was unable to reach a consensus on this issue, Oftel's guidelines set out a balanced solution.

Operators have 28 days to respond to the proposal and Oftel will publish its final decision in July. ®

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