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Another day, another news item with Bulldog
Tuesday 26 July 2005 16:39:00 by Andrew Ferguson

What looks like a tit for tat war is continuing between Bulldog and BT. The latest are perhaps clearest in two news items on The Register, see "Ofcom sent 135 Bulldog complaints" and "BT hits back at Bulldog jibes".

The work by Steve Collis in collating more than 130 individuals with complaints about the Bulldog service, and forwarding this onto Ofcom must be praised. Apparently Steve is still receiving emails from frustrated customers. 130 complaints may not sound much, and is a fairly small number, but out of around 30,000 customers, the vast majority who will not have heard about what Steve is doing this may prove to be the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately it seems Ofcom is doing its usual watch and wait procedure, and if it decides to do something it will be informal initially, and only at a later date will a formal investigation start. There is a danger that other providers may see inaction from Ofcom as a signal that the regulator does not mind too much what you do, so long as you are competing with BT.

The most concerning thing is that BT appear to be disputing the fault rates mentioned last week. The figures would seem to be at odds with what is published monthly by the OTA who monitors the crucial LLU performance indicators. There is no real way of knowing who is right or wrong, or perhaps both parties are right, and the Bulldog figures are based on different criteria to what BT are using.

Of course the problem now is that we may see both companies slugging it out, to protect their own interests, with the poor consumer left behind in a poor third place, just waiting for their service to be delivered as promised. We think the time has come for all the parties involved, Ofcom, OTA, Bulldog and BT to sit down and find ways of ensuring that customers get what they want, which is a reasonably reliable telephone service and working ADSL connection. If the level of complaints continue we may see the public at large considering LLU too risky an option, thus killing the market just as it starts to grow.

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