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BT has hit back at claims made by Cable & Wireless (C&W) that it is to blame for the problems facing broadband ISP Bulldog.

In a statement sent to The Register BT rejected accusations that it is responsible for problems experienced by Bulldog customers who have switched their phone and broadband services to the LLU ISP.

BT also maintains that it holds daily face-to-face meetings with Bulldog and that this is the first time that the LLU ISP has brought up these concerns.

While both sides are now engaged in a finger pointing blame game, Bulldog customers are stuck in the middle some without phone or broadband services.

At the same time regulator Ofcom is not prepared to comment on the matter and instead seems content not to help customers left without basic telecoms services.

On Friday C&W chairman Richard Lapthorne touched on some of the problems facing Bulldog - C&W's local loop unbundling (LLU) ISP - and appeared to shift some of the blame onto BT.

Said Lapthorne: "In broadband, over the last few weeks, Bulldog has begun to improve customer provisioning. We are encouraged by comments and feedback from customers who are experiencing its 8 meg broadband and telephone services.

"However, in the area of provisioning in particular, the level of service remains inconsistent as we work with BT - after their relatively recent introduction of automated procedures - to enhance the quality and accuracy with which telephone lines are transferred to the Bulldog network.

"This, together with the interest in our new services, has resulted in higher than expected call volumes to Bulldog customer support. We have recruited and trained further customer support staff, in line with our plans, and introduced automated tracking systems to reduce call volumes. We expect to see material improvements over the summer," he said.

The Guardian yesterday reported that C&W was considering making a formal complaint against BT because the telco had failed to meet key performance targets. Bulldog reckons that fewer than six in ten unbundled lines are delivered on time. Of those that are, half had faults.

But this has been rejected by BT. The UK's dominant fixed line telco told us: "We recognise that there are provisioning issues and have been working closely with Bulldog over the last couple of weeks to identify and resolve them.

"However, we do not recognise the figures quoted in the Guardian article. The article claims that the best success rate BT Wholesale has delivered is 81 per cent - our industry wide success rate is currently 91 per cent.

"It also claims that a third of the connections delivered on time had faults - our own figures demonstrate that our fault rate has not gone beyond 6 per cent in recent weeks. The one occasion when the failure rate went beyond 6 per cent was for one day only in June when it rose to 8.9 per cent.

"Note also that we have daily, face to face, bilateral meetings with Bulldog to discuss provisioning and they have not raised these concerns directly with us."

Bulldog and C&W were both asked to comment on the latest developments but no one from either firm returned calls before publication. ®

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