Suppliers call for Oftel's head

Computing Services and Software Association (CSSA) urges government to consider scrapping Oftel for its failure to stand up to BT

IT suppliers this week launched a blistering attack on telecoms regulator Oftel for its failure to open up the local telephone loop to competition for broadband services.

In a damning critique, the Computing Services and Software Association (CSSA) urged the Government to consider scrapping Oftel for its failure to stand up to British Telecom.

The CSSA's comments follow the Government's victory this week in persuading the European Commission to agree to a six-month delay in opening up local phone loops to competition.

The CSSA's remarks will add to recent criticism from telecoms operators and the Communications Managers Association over the slow roll-out of BT's broadband ADSL service.

"What we are witnessing here is a sad example of regulatory failure", the CSSA said in a paper released this week. It called on the Government to consider hiving off BT's local loop assets into a separate company that would have a clear incentive to meet customers' demands for broadband access.

"The UK is clearly falling behind and that will affect the competitiveness of knowledge based industries," it said.

"This fundamentally calls into question the continued relevance of the current independent arrangements for regulation of telecommunications in the UK."

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