Freeserve hails ADSL cuts

No more 'nips and tucks'

Freeserve has welcomed recent cuts in wholesale ADSL fees insisting that these should feed through to greater competition and more choice for the consumer.

Earlier this month BT avoided a showdown with the telecoms regulator by agreeing to further cost cuts on a key wholesale ADSL product that enables rival telcos to compete with the dominant telco.

Addressing MPs and other industry bigwigs at the Westminster Media Forum last week, Freeserve general counsel David Melville said the cost cuts - effectively imposed on BT by regulator Oftel - would benefit the UK's broadband industry.

However, his comments contained a barb.

Said Mr Melville: "For the past three years we've seen the market for high speed access effectively gifted to local cable monopolies, and BT, and the result is clear for all to see when we compare broadband penetration and take up in the UK across the G7 countries - the UK stands fifth out of seven.

"However, things are changing. Oftel are now forcing the pace...for the first time I can recall, we are seeing active intervention by the [telecoms regulator] in reducing the wholesale prices charged by BT - two price cuts in six months means that alternative operators are now close to the point where they will be in position to compete.

"No more 'nips and tucks' but genuine price cuts including operational changes, that should feed through to greater competition and more choice for the consumer," he told MPs.

Mr Melville's comments on the issue of wholesale broadband competition is likely to form the basis of Freeserve's submission to a Trade and Industry Committee inquiry into broadband in the UK.

Details of the inquiry were released last week. One of the key planks of the inquiry will be the roll-out of broadband and the competitive landscape in the UK. ®

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