CMA demands tighter rules for BT

The Communications Management Association is using this week’s Enterprise Networks show in London to call on telecoms watchdog...

The Communications Management Association is using this week’s Enterprise Networks show in London to call on telecoms watchdog Ofcom to deliver for UK business.

The CMA, which represents corporate telecoms users, is to use its Broadband Britain sessions to promote its submission to Ofcom’s strategic review into the telecoms market.

The CMA’s submission focuses on broadband availability and pricing, wireless connectivity, the allocation of spectrum for new technology and the advent of converged IP voice and data over fixed lines.

"BT’s dominant position over the last 20 years has been inadequately regulated and has led to high barriers to entry [for rival suppliers], failed businesses and thwarted ambition," said the CMA.

"At a time of rapid change in the industry, the status quo can no longer be tolerated and regulation must seek to reduce to a practical minimum the opportunities for abuse by all players."

The CMA said there was a direct correlation between Ofcom’s threats of a tighter regulatory regime on BT and BT’s announcement of price cuts.

A CMA spokesman said, "We are not against BT having significant market power, we are mainly concerned about what it does with that power."

On broadband, the CMA said better services for businesses would evolve once 2mbps and above become the basic speed for connectivity.

The association criticised the wireless connectivity technologies currently on offer to UK companies and said Ofcom should be cautious in the way it chooses to regulate the growing VoIP market.

BT denied it has taken advantage of its dominant position in some markets and said the existing regulatory process was already working. It cited last week’s big price cuts for consumer broadband as a positive example of it reacting to market pressure.

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