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Oftel orders BT to cut wholesale net prices

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Oftel today ordered BT to reduce its charges for wholesale unmetered Internet access by 17 per cent in a move that will reduce the cost of getting online for many UK consumers.

Following an investigation (begun following a complaint from Cable & Wireless, which was later supported by Energis), Oftel has concluded that BT has been charging operators for certain call routing and call management measures that are no longer necessary.

When BT introduced wholesale unmetered Internet access three years ago it built in several mechanisms to route Internet calls through to the appropriate service provider and call management measures to protect its network from being overloaded. But with improvements to BT's network these measures are no longer needed - so BT's customers should no longer have to pay for them, Oftel has concluded.

As a result, BT's wholesale charge will be reduced by 17 per cent and backdated to June 2002, the date from when these additional measures were not needed.

There has also been an adjustment to BT's wholesale unmetered Internet access charges for the period from August 1 2001 until May 31 2002. Oftel has ordered BT to reduce its wholesale prices for that period by around six per cent. The reason for this reduction is that it was not necessary to apply certain measures uniformly across all of BT's local exchanges during that period.

David Edmonds, Director General of Telecommunications, commented: "I hope that operators pass these savings onto their customers."

"The action taken today ensures that BT continue to recoup the cost of providing wholesale unmetered Internet access, and that UK consumers continue to benefit from one of the most competitive dial-up Internet markets in the world." ®

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