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Friday, 18 January, 2002, 17:00 GMT
BT told to lower broadband cost
Telephone jack
Oftel found local loop charges were too high
Telecoms regulator Oftel has ordered British Telecom to cut some of its charges to competitors for accessing the local loop used to provide broadband services, such as the internet, to customers.

The "local loop" represents the lines which connect exchanges to residential and commercial properties.

David Edmonds, Oftel director general, said the move would lead to lower charges, "reducing costs for operators and giving them greater confidence to plan the roll-out of their high speed services".

With high charges blamed for hindering the uptake of broadband services in the UK, the process of allowing more competition into the area is seen by the government as a key way of accelerating the roll-out of the services.

Some telecoms operators, such as Thus, have decided not to offer broadband services, claiming the charges make it uneconomical.

Charges cut

Oftel said in a statement that an investigation found some of BT's charges for the services were too high.

It said BT must cut its charge for providing line information to 260p from 530p, and halve the premium it charges for escorted access to its exchanges.

Oftel said BT should also cut its connection and rental charges for external tie cables, which link the firm's exchanges to equipment operated by other companies..

The telecom regulator said it would decide on connection and rental charges for external tie cables after a market survey.

In the City, BT shares closed 2.25p lower at 240.5p on Friday.

See also:

03 Dec 01 | Business
UK to speed up broadband
18 Oct 01 | Business
Watchdog caps BT charges
23 Aug 01 | Business
Broadband fines threat to BT
02 Aug 01 | Business
BT bidders in talks with watchdogs
15 Feb 01 | Business
New web access hope
30 Jan 01 | Business
Thus scraps broadband plans
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