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Oftel burdened with broadband complaints

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Oftel is currently investigating five complaints concerning wholesale DSL services and local loop unbundling (LLU) in the UK according to the latest update from the telecoms regulator.

One of the investigations is based on allegations that BT is abusing its dominant position in relation to wholesale broadband services. Another - prompted by concerns from AOL UK and Freeserve - accuses BT of "unduly preferring its own service provider BTOpenworld" concerning the allocation of limited ADSL installations.

Although this second complaint is still ongoing, BT recently moved to scrap its allocation process - introduced to assign "fairly" the limited number of ADSL installations.

Arguably, this has made this complaint all but redundant.

Both complaints were lodged in January but despite repeated calls for a swift resolution the winged watchdog is unable to say when it will complete its investigations.

The three disputes that deal with LLU centre on the costs involved for preparing co-location space in BT exchanges and charges for distant location services.

On the issue of whether BT is cross-subsidising the cost of the BTopenwoe service with income from its wholesale DSL service, the winged watchdog has effectively said that the jury is out and that it will continue to monitor the situation.

Operators had argued that the margins involved were so slight it was impossible for them to compete effectively with BT. ®

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