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'Overheating' NTL phone kit safe, says Tellabs

'Improper installation' blamed

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Tellabs, the US telecoms equipment maker, has rejected claims by NTL Ireland that its kit poses a safety hazard. It insisting that its cablespan units are "safe when properly installed".

Last week NTL Ireland suspended the phone service for 2,000 customers in Dublin after it identified a "safety issue associated with its domestic direct telephone equipment". It refused to explain the exact nature of the problem, citing legal reasons. But it has since emerged that the kit might be susceptible to overheating.

Yesterday, Tellabs went public. It said its equipment - cablespan units through which the telephone service is provided - were at the centre of the safety alert. But the US company insisted the units are safe. In all, Tellabs has issued some 600,000 cablespan units to telcos around the world, yet it is only aware of two incidents - both from NTL Ireland recently - "involving potential health and safety issues".

Said Tellabs in a statement: "Tellabs is confident that our cablespan units are safe when properly installed. Cablespan equipment was rigorously tested and certified for safety prior to deployment."

After being told by NTL Ireland of its safety concerns, Tellabs hired an "eminent independent engineering consultant" to look at the units. Based on the evidence available...the probable cause of these incidents was improper installation of the equipment. We are continuing to work with NTL to determine the exact cause of the incidents," said Tellabs.

Despite this, NTL remains unmoved and is still sticking to the line that the kit poses a safety hazard. ®

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