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LLU is 'farcical'

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Oftel, BT and the telecoms industry have all been slammed for their handling of local loop unbundling (LLU) in Britain amid concerns that the whole process is in danger of becoming "farcical".

In a blunt report the Department of Trade and Industry Select Committee concluded that BT "dragged their feet" while other telcos couldn't agree "amongst themselves or with BT".

Oftel, the report said, "should have intervened earlier than they did, and made a better fist of the implementation once engaged in the process".

The report concludes: "The process of LLU to date has run less than smoothly. The blame for the delays and problems incurred to date must lie at the door of all participants in the process.

"Whilst the importance of LLU should not be overstated, it is an important delivery mechanism for broadband services. If the Government is to meet its objective of making the UK one of the world's leading knowledge economies, LLU must be successful," it said.

MPs had little time for the regulator explaining: "We understand that Oftel has had little hands-on experience of the practicalities of LLU and that some senior officers had not even visited an exchange. The episode has shown up some weaknesses in Oftel's grasp of the technical issues involved."

In a short statement Oftel welcomed report and said it will study the recommendations carefully.

"Local loop unbundling is a complex process and the report makes clear that the problems encountered need to be addressed by all participants.

"Oftel will continue to work closely with the industry to ensure that practical issues are resolved as quickly as possible so there are no obstacles to unbundling wherever there is demand for it," it said.

A spokeswoman for BT said the troubled telco also welcomed the report.

"It lays the blame at the feet of others," she said, "especially Oftel." ®

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Trade and Industry Report on Local Loop Unbundling

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