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Push-pull still evident in the BT Group
Friday 05 November 2004 10:18:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The Independent has some interesting details on the fighting and bickering on the direction to go inside the BT Group. Sir Christopher Bland has been quoted as saying that Ofcom should allow BT to lower the cost of its main wholesale broadband product to bring it in line with LLU costs.

Pierre Danon, has recently also hinted at wanting to look into LLU, as a way of reducing BT Retails costs for ADSL products. Figures have appeared suggesting that BT Retail think they can do the LLU for £5 per port, rather than around the £11-13 mark it currently costs them. The Independent indicates that there has been rows between Ben Verwaayen and Mr Danon over this issue.

This report shows the problems inherent in any large group, different parts want to protect their own interests, and ensure that their groups figures are very good, without any concern as to the overall and long term effects. If BT Retail were to go the LLU route, then it is likely we would see a degree of cherry picking which is going to be evident in almost any LLU providers roll-out. This means the large exchanges will get done first, and the small market towns and villages will be left to stagnate with the standard ADSL roll-out for many years to come. We hope that LLU will provide services that far exceed what BT Wholesale currently offer, but also that the BT Group will adopt a plan that will be see speeds rising to meet that of the LLU providers over time. Most importantly this would be a roll-out that like the basic ADSL service is available to almost all households.

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