BT ‘bemused’ over broadband complaint

Power play?

BT claims it is "bemused" by a report that utility Scottish & Southern - which is trialing broadband over power lines - is to have words with the new communication regulator, Ofcom.

S&S appears concerned about BT's move to convert Stonehaven's phone exchange to ADSL earlier this year.

Stonehaven, Scotland happens to be one of the locations - Winchester's the other - where S&S is currently trialing its broadband over power line technology.

S&S' chief executive, Ian Marchant, told the Financial Times that he is "not accusing BT of dirty tricks by targeting Stonehaven". Even so, he still wants to raise the matter with Ofcom when he meets with officials there next week.

BT has been quick to point out that Stonehaven was one of the first exchanges to be given a trigger level when the demand-led registration scheme first went live in July 2002.

Like many other exchanges, it had its target reduced at the beginning of the year by 50 and in April managed to drum up enough interest (350 registrations) for BT to convert the local exchange to ADSL. The exchange went live in July at around the same time S&S began its commercial trials in the town.

BT argues that Stonehaven was treated like any other exchange. And by Mr Marchant's own admission, he is not accusing BT of doing anything wrong.

So what is the issue so pressing for S&S?

"I'm not sure," said a spokeswoman for the company. "We've nothing to add except what's in the FT," she said. ®

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