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Ofcom responds to BT comments on regulatory environment
Thursday 09 December 2004 10:56:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The boss of Ofcom Stephen Carter has been talking to The Independent newspaper. The Register has more details on what was said. A key point we believe that Stephen Carter said was "We've had 20-odd years of it working one way, we're trying to suggest it could work another way.".

The last year has seen changes in how Ofcom handles BT, and it has also seen changes in how BT approach ADSL, and the start of trials for things like FTTP (Fibre To The Premises). I think any CEO of a large business subject to such intense regulatory scrutiny has reason to be worried. Since BT is a crossroads and is looking at a long period of investment which will see either a half hearted next generation network, or something cutting edge. BT is often accused of being conservative with new technologies, and it probably will be with its 21CN, but there is a danger that decisions by Ofcom may limit the return on investment to such a degree that it is not worth progressing with new technology roll-out.

One scenario may be that, BT becomes a LLU operator in Europe where it may have more freedom to invest, and simply leave its existing UK ADSL market to plod along. Of course this should not be a problem, since LLU will see ever better xDSL services, but are we ever likely to see LLU provision ever reach the coverage levels of the BT Wholesale ADSL services.

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