Energis calls time on negotiations with BT

Energis has hit out at British Telecom over the breakdown in talks to agree terms for its provision of xDSL wholesale products to...

Energis has hit out at British Telecom over the breakdown in talks to agree terms for its provision of xDSL wholesale products to its rival operator.

Last week, Energis revealed it was seeking Oftel intervention after communication had failed. The two companies had been in Oftel-ordered negotiations since 29 March.

David Wickham, chief operating officer at Energis, released a statement expressing frustration with BT: "We are disappointed at the reluctance of BT to enter into genuine negotiations on this issue."

Wickham added that the company would "now have to wait for Oftel to conduct a market review before it could make a further determination on whether BT's prices should be cost-orientated".

A number of other operators will be watching the proceedings with interest, as up to nine companies are involved in similar negotiations with BT, including Thus, WorldCom and Cable & Wireless.

A group of rival operators originally sought a determination from Oftel on the issue of competitive access to BT's xDSL products in September last year. Energis and Thus argued the BT Option 4 range of products were anti-competitive.

In March, the regulator ordered BT to provide a more competitive range of wholesale leased-line products to alternative operators. The telco was ordered to enter negotiations with companies including Energis. Oftel set the incumbent a two-month timetable to agree on terms and conditions, with a further six weeks to begin provision to rival operators.

Under the terms of Oftel's March ruling, either party could ask for Oftel intervention if they could not reach an agreement. Energis is the first operator to call time on negotiations.

A spokesman for BT said the company was "disappointed" at the move by Energis and insisted the incumbent had been "talking at length and depth" with operators. "We feel we have sorted out the vast majority of issues with them," he added.

Sarah Stokely-Willcox

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