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'Restrictive practice' complaint now in Oftel's hands

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A Hampshire ISP is looking for other ISPs to rally round and support a complaint it's made against BT.

Cloud Nine - a mid-sized business provider based in Basingstoke, Hampshire - claims the monster telco has hiked the price of its wholesale unmetered Net access product making it all but impossible for small and medium-sized ISPs to compete with large providers.

It fears that if BT continues with the pricing strategy, smaller ISPs simply won't be able to compete with the big boys. And it warns that consumers will lose out in the long run as their choice of ISPs diminishes.

In the formal complaint to Oftel, Cloud Nine said: "It is our opinion that BT have introduced a restrictive practice through a product call SurfPort24 in the UK to prevent small to medium size ISPs competing in the Unmetered Internet Access market using FRIACO wholly for the benefit of very large ISPs including BT branded ones.

"This in turn ultimately restricts choice to the consumer and small business of the unmetered products and services they can choose. They have introduced this practice by raising the entry barrier to unaffordable economic levels for SurfPort24."

Emeric Miszti, MD of Cloud Nine, claims he's already received support from some smaller ISPs and hopes others will support his complaint.

A spokeswoman for Oftel confirmed that a complaint had been received.

A spokesman for BT said the telco would assist in any Oftel investigation. ®

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