On 10th March, Oftel launched a consultation on a
proposed new condition of BT's licence to require BT to open up its
local access lines. The condition requires BT to provide unbundled
loops to other network operators, to permit the co-location of
equipment at its local exchanges and to provide any necessary
services. The Director General of Oftel is also able to set the
price for these services and to resolve any disputes between BT and
other operators over these services.
The unbundling will allow operators to upgrade BT's
local loop by placing Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology in
the local exchange and at customer premises. DSL converts the local
phone lines into a high capacity line, capable of providing
customers with high-bandwidth services such as video-on-demand and
high-speed always-on Internet access.
It is anticipated that the new licence condition
will be in place by June 2000. The Director General will set the
date on which the condition will come into effect.
(Oftel Press Release 14/00)