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Oftel bids to reduce telecoms regulation

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Oftel has published a rack of proposals that could lead to a widespread reduction in regulation in the UK's telecoms and Internet industry.

The new proposals are due to replace existing regulations with measures based on EC Directives on electronic communications.

Some of the key changes on the table include a reduction in regulation that covers unmetered Internet access.

The regulator also plans to reduce regulation on a number of international call routes to reflect what it calls the "growth in competition in UK".

As well as reducing regulation, Oftel is also proposing to introduce new regulation that would require BT to provide a wholesale ISDN service for operators that want to compete in the business market.

And it also wants to see tighter regulation to force Kingston Communications to offer wholesale unmetered Internet products in a bid to introduce competition and choice for punters in Hull.

In a statement, Oftel boss David Edmonds said today: "Oftel is carrying out reviews across the telecoms market, and where competition is increasing, unnecessary regulation will be withdrawn. But where competition has not yet taken off, Oftel will put in place firm regulation to support competition and protect consumers."

Many in the telecoms industry have been reluctant to comment until they have had the chance to examine the latest proposals in detail.

Said one industry insider: "The devil, as always, is in the detail. If there is anything in there it will come out in the wash." ®

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