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Telewest threatens to derail unmetered Net access in UK

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Telewest has warned it will take legal action against Oftel unless it makes changes to the introduction of the wholesale unmetered Net access product, FRIACO.

It warns that FRIACO - the mechanism that allows ISPs to offer unmetered Net access in the UK by fixing telecoms costs - could harm Telewest's future profitability.

In a letter written by John K Cluny, Head of Regulatory Economics at Telewest to Oftel dated December 8 Internet, he said: "We regard the present proposals as hugely damaging to Telewest's long term commercial viability, and we will consider pursuing any appropriate legal remedy to challenge the current Oftel proposals."

Cluny argued that FRIACO has not been thought out properly and that it will lead to "excessive regulatory intervention and market distortion".

Telewest was asked to comment on the letter - and on the specific question of legal action - but decided instead to dodge the issue.

In a prepared and largely meaningless statement, the outfit said: "Our response to the consultation document is part of an on-going dialogue with Oftel. We work closely with Oftel on a wide range of regulatory issues and this is an example that refers to interconnection arrangements.

"We fully support Oftel's intention to find the most efficient - and most competitive - means to connect end-users to the Internet services they require."

What is it with these telcos? One minute they're threatening court action, the next they're "working closely with Oftel". Are they schizoid or just duplicitous?

Telewest launched its own unmetered Net access product - SurfUnlimited - in February this year. ®

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