Two cheers for Oftel

UK businesses pay too much for broadband access - and consumers have too little choice. That is the picture despite repeated...

UK businesses pay too much for broadband access - and consumers have too little choice. That is the picture despite repeated promises from Oftel to attack BT's onopoly.

In that context, last week's pledge from Oftel to force down leased-line prices is welcome. So is the long-awaited roll-out of Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line to consumers - although BT's failure to reduce ISDN price structures accordingly will not be liked by small businesses and teleworkers.

It is significant that Oftel thought the US broadband market was on such a different planet to conditions in the UK that it ruled out transatlantic price comparisons. That was correct for the purposes of measuring BT against euro-competitors - but a symbolic admission that the US has an Internet superhighway, while the UK still has a cyber version of the A1.

It is vital that Oftel's promised consultation on leased-line pricing is swift and decisive - unlike so many telecoms consultation exercises in the past.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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