Oftel has ordered BT to cut its wholesale charges to rivals for un-metered internet access by 17% in a move it hopes will help spark more widespread public adoption of the internet. The move was sparked by complaints to telecoms regulator Oftel by Energis and Cable & Wireless.
An Oftel spokesman said that the move would help boost UK internet and broadband take-up as consumers generally went for an un-metered "narrowband" internet connection - allowing them to pay a set charge for unlimited access - as a stepping stone to a broadband connection.
It is expected that the cuts will result in annual cost savings for BT's rival carriers of around £17m and will be backdated to June 2002, resulting in what will effectively be windfall payments for those operators.
David Edmonds, director general of telecommunications, said, "BT has made significant improvements to its network since wholesale un-metered internet access was first introduced over three years ago. At that time, BT included several mechanisms to route internet calls through to the appropriate service provider and call management measures to protect its network from being overloaded."
"BT’s network can now process internet call traffic without these additional measures. As a result, I have today ordered BT to reduce its wholesale un-metered Internet access prices by 17%. I hope that operators pass these savings onto their customers."