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Local loop charges below EU average, says Oftel

Yes, but..., says Bulldog

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Update Bulldog Communications - one of the few operators still involved in local loop unbundling in the UK - has welcomed Oftel's local loop charges for shared lines.

The winged watchdog claims that charges to provide broadband access over unbundled local loops are now some of the lowest in Europe.

Publishing the final charges today for shared lines - a process which allows operators to provide broadband data services while BT keeps voice services over the same local line - the regulator said that the charges were lower than those proposed in June.

In its briefing, published today, Oftel ruled that the annual rent for shared lines has been set at £53 with a one-off connection charge of £117 for each shared copper wire loop linking customers and the local exchange.

David Edmonds, head boy of Oftel said: "Final prices for shared access to local loops are lower than those originally proposed, following analysis of additional information received by Oftel during the consultation period.

"The rental charge is now below the EU average," he said.

However, while Bulldog Communications has welcomed the ruling saying it is a step in the right direction, it has raised its eyebrows about comparisons with Europe.

While the competitiveness of the charges might be below the EU average, it accepted, they were still higher than those in France and Germany, it said.

Elsewhere, Oftel said that some of BT's co-location charges are still too high and wants them to fall. ®

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