Feeds

Ofcom proposes to free BT from price controls

Competition rules

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

BT could be free to charge what it likes for phone services such as line rental and call charges if proposals to scrap 22 years of price controls get the go-ahead. Regulator Ofcom says there is now sufficient competition in the UK's telecoms sector to release BT from its price constraints and allow the market to work without regulatory intervention.

Ofcom claims that average call prices have fallen by more than half over the last ten years and that more than 10m households use telcos other than BT for their phone calls. It also points to the increased take-up of VoIP and local loop unbundling as further signs of improved competition in the UK.

"Given this, Ofcom believes it is now appropriate to consider allowing existing retail price controls to lapse as increasingly effective competition between providers continues to drive down costs to consumers," the regulator said today. "These developments are also taking place against a background of continued growth in the market for mobile services."

Although Ofcom wants to see a free for all, its proposals include some measure of protection for vulnerable groups that would stay in place until the end of 2007. If adopted, the changes would come into force from 1 August.

"More than 20 years on, sustained competition, informed customers and the rapid growth of new technology provide the necessary environment for substantial deregulation," Ofcom chief exec Stephen Carter said.

However, there are already mutterings that the decision to lift regulation on BT has come too soon and that consumers could lose out in the long run. Indeed, Ofcom will have to ensure that its deregulation of the telecoms industry is handled better than the liberalisation of the director enquiries (DQ) industry.

Last year the National Audit Office (NAO) said the regulator made a hash of deregulating the UK's service, leaving punters paying more for a service they're using less.

The report added that Ofcom could not "yet demonstrate that, overall, consumers have benefited from liberalisation". ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.