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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 07:31 GMT 08:31 UK
Oftel dismisses BT break-up call
Internet user
Is Britain falling behind in the broadband race? Oftel says no
UK telecoms regulator Oftel has dismissed calls to break up BT.

A parliamentary report in May had suggested that Oftel should force the telecoms giant to separate its retail business from its network as this would increase competition in the broadband market.

"Competition in the broadband market continues to increase, with prices cheaper in the UK, than in France or Germany," Oftel said in a statement.

"The option of breaking up BT is therefore not on [Oftel's] current agenda," it added.

Last month Oftel ordered BT to open up its vast network to companies trying to roll out fast internet connections.

The move follows a complaint from Thus and Energis. BT owns almost all the connections between homes and small business and the exchange itself.

Now, however, competitors will be able to combine their own networks and BT's to provide their services.

Broadband spreads

At its annual general meeting in London on Wednesday, BT said interest in broadband remained solid, with orders for the high speed service running at 12,000 per week.

Chief executive Ben Verwaayen said the number of BT exchanges which were broadband was growing.

There are now 1,115 exchanges, compared with 890 at the same time last year.

This covers about 73% of internet users.

See also:

11 Jul 02 | Science/Nature
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