Broadband Britain ‘as bad as UK railways’

Steady on

Telecoms regulator David Edmonds has been warned that he faces the blame for the UK becoming the broadband 'sick man of Europe'.

In a letter today, Ebone CEO Duncan Lewis told Mr Edmonds that he must act quickly to resolve a dispute over the local leased market.

Failure to do so will result in Broadband Britain going the way of Railtrack - "a project full of great rhetoric but ultimately an embarrassing disaster with very significant economic and social consequences".

The broadside from Ebone, the pan-European broadband operator, comes as the industry awaits a ruling from Oftel about the provision of wholesale local leased lines.

Earlier this year BT and a number industry operators, including Ebone, failed to come to an agreement over the matter.

Wrote Mr Lewis: "In the vast majority of cases [local leased lines] can only be acquired from BT who, by law, must sell these local broadband connections at cost-based prices to other operators. Oftel's role is to ensure that this happens. It is not."

Continued Mr Lewis: "BT's 'final' offer does not comply with long-standing legal requirements, breaches the conditions of BT's licence and, most concerning, will leave Broadband Britain what it is today - a bold concept destined to fail in the hands of those charged with protecting it."

A spokeswoman for Oftel declined to comment on the stinging remarks until the regulator has received the letter. ®

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