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Oftel has delayed a ruling critical to the future of broadband Britain creating more uncertainty for those companies who believe the current state of affairs is a "national disgrace".

The winged watchdog was due to rule on an industry group complaint made in December which accused BT of favouring its own broadband ISP with the allocation of its wholesale ADSL product.

However, it has received further representations from the industry group and Oftel officials are now sifting through the evidence, delaying the outcome of the investigation.

A spokeswoman for the telecoms regulator was unable to say when the winged watchdog would be able to make its findings public.

AOL UK and Freeserve have both threatened legal action against BT unless the matter of allocation is resolved.

The Register understands that although both outfits have their legal teams working on the case, no formal move will be made until Oftel issues its ruling.

Criticism surrounding BT's roll-out of wholesale ADSL erupted last month when it was reported that BTopenworld - the monster telco's broadband ISP - had managed to secure two thirds of all ADSL installations in the UK.

Freeserve CEO, John Pluthero, accused BT of "institutionally restricting market share" among competing broadband ISPs.

BT has strenuously denied all the allegations and believes the allocation process to be fair and equitable. ®

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