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Teething the Unbundling
Wednesday 17 January 2001 21:19:00 by John Hunt

An emergency meeting has been called by Oftel for tommorow, with BT and Telco's to discuss the delays in rolling out services over the now unbundling, local loop. Only Eircom has been reported to start offering services to its customers. However, it is no great surprise that only this one Telco has currently been this swift at doing so since their has only been exchange access to a limited number (25) since the 4th of January.

One reason as reported by the FT is that "its [BT's] rivals have complained to Oftel that the wholesale prices are too expensive and they accuse BT of discriminating in favour of its own retail divisions, Openworld and Ignite."

In come back to this, BT has suggested that the cable networks should also be opened up to competitors- one idea that I think quite absurd. After all, BT did not go down every street laying its own cables; the majority were inherited from a once PUBLIC company, the good ol' GPO.

There is little reasoning why NTL or Telewest should allow other operators on their fibre and in all reality, I don't see this actually working efficiently. With the way BT exchanges are laid out around the regions, and the other providers have been fractured off inside the exchanges, you can have one household with a BT phone line, and their neighbour with a Thus phone line. However, a cable network as I understand it, operates as one large fibre optic network in the similar way to a bus network. It would be much harder to share the fibre that is already used for the television signals and contended at the street level for bandwidth in terms of cable modems.

As it currently stands, I find it hard to see any DSL prices falling drastically as Oftel have agreed on BT's prices for rental of exchange space / circuits and leaves little room for the new operators to actually provide a service at a lower cost and possibly make some money whilst doing so. [john]

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