Feeds

Oftel head flambéed by angry MPs

We wish we'd gone now

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Sparks were flying at the Houses of Parliament yesterday. Head of Oftel David Edmonds faced the trade and industry select committee and they were not in good temper.

Of course prime billing was given to Oftel's inability to get BT off its arse, but the committee also pilled in with questions on mobile phone tariffs and public phone boxes. Edmonds knew he had a hard time coming but blimey. We're just annoyed we didn't head down there to see him squirm.

The occasion provided some of the best quotes that have been used in relation to the telecoms industry. Edmonds was accused of being impotent, complacent, overly lenient and hoodwinked. Someone was paying attention then.

Oftel, it was exclaimed, had fundamentally failed to do its job as regulator of the telecoms market. It could have done more to force BT to open local loops, it was "taken for a ride", it has failed to make mobile phone tariffs simple, it has not managed to build competition for leased lines, it didn't do enough to prevent public phone boxes from being closed down - the list goes on and on.

Edmonds was fighting for his reputation and fired back with equally strong words. It has been "trench warfare" with BT over the summer he said. When negotiating with BT "you need to hit it with a club five times and on the sixth they come up with what you want". He also half-joked that at times he wished he could have put BT chief Peter Bonfield in jail. BT has apparently withheld information for months at a time - the most interesting example being that it didn't know the postcodes of its own exchanges. No one said it was going to be easy, Dave.

This is great and we have a new-found respect for the trade committee (Martin O'Neill, we salute you). Perhaps now we can get something done. Chief exec of Energis Mike Grabiner stuck his oar in (unusual :-) ) and suggested the core phone network of Britain was floated off as a separate company. Now that's what we call an idea. ®

The juiciest quotes

"You need to hit BT with a club five times and on the sixth they come up with what you want. We have had trench warfare all this summer," David Edmonds, head of Oftel.

"People are getting ripped off week after week signing up to mobile phone tariffs they don't understand. If you've got the powers [to regulate them] why don't you damn well use them?" Martin O'Neill, chairman of trade and industry committee.

"Frankly, BT was taking you for a ride," Martin O'Neill.

"Your complacency is quite appalling. One can't blame BT if you can't police them," Martin O'Neill.

"If you were a proactive regulator, you would have been pressing Parliament for statutory powers [to break BT's local loop monopoly]," John Butterfill MP.

"People are genuinely concerned about the slowness with which BT is implementing the changes and the apparent impotence of your organisation to speed them up," Martin O'Neill.

Related Story

Unmetered access is here! No thanks to BT

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
DEATH by COMMENTS: WordPress XSS vuln is BIGGEST for YEARS
Trio of XSS turns attackers into admins
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.