Unbundling measures scrapped

The Communications Managers Association (CMA) has expressed concern over the local loop unbundling process after regulator Oftel...

The Communications Managers Association (CMA) has expressed concern over the local loop unbundling process after regulator Oftel scrapped a programme for allocating space in BT's local exchanges to rival operators.

Daniel Thomas

Oftel scrapped the programme, known as the bow wave process, after meeting with telecoms operators last week. The process was designed to ensure that broadband services would be available across the UK.

The bow wave process was introduced to determine the order in which BT would open up its exchanges. Space in 700 of its 6,000 exchanges was allocated during the first two rounds of the process, but Oftel said a third round would not be necessary.

Applications for space will now go directly to BT. Oftel said this will allow operators to place orders for whichever BT exchange they want.

Derek Nicholas of the CMA said, "The idea of the bow wave process was to apply pressure on BT to open up exchanges on a planned basis, but it does not appear to have worked. It is yet another uncertainty in the difficult road towards opening up BT's resources."

An Oftel spokeswoman denied that it was abandoning the unbundling process. "The bow wave process was always a temporary measure introduced for the initial allocation of exchanges. This is just another step forward," she said.

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