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Broadband Britain ‘as bad as UK railways’

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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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