BT's sets fair access plans to avoid action by regulator Ofcom -- and more news briefs

Short takes on this week's news

BT's fair access plans set to boost broadband
BT is planning to set up a separate communications access company to deliver a fair access deal to competitors who build alternative systems using its infrastructure, as part of its attempt to avoid action by regulator Ofcom. BT's proposals include cutting local loop unbundling charges, which could reduce the cost of broadband subscriptions.

Sun hands over internal systems to CSC
CSC has signed a five-year, £200m applications management deal with Sun. The global contract sees CSC provide all applications development and support services to Sun, including the management of all Sun's internal business systems. "We will operate at lower cost and with more flexibility," said Sun CIOBill Vass. CSC said it would use Sun's own Java Enterprise system in the central infrastructure for maintaining Sun's systems.

Slew of fixes arrive for major Windows glitches
A bumper crop of Microsoft patches is being released this week, including nine fixes for Windows flaws. At least one of the updates comes with the company's highest "critical" rating. There will be 13 updates in total, including software to fix a critical flaw affecting Office and Visual Studio, and another critical flaw involving Windows, Windows Media Player and MSN Messenger.

Harvey Nichols saves by outsourcing IBM server
Harvey Nichols has signed a five-year hosting services deal with Retail Assist to save costs by outsourcing its IBM iSeries server. Under the deal the supplier will host and manage the server in its Northampton datacentre. It will also host new merchandising and DC system applications from system applications supplier Merret.

IT recruitment on the up but retention a problem
More than 90% of UK organisations are recruiting IT staff, according to a new survey of more than 531 organisations and over 55,000 staff. However, the survey by Computer Economics found that nearly 25% of employers reported retention problems, especially in the public and voluntary sector. Flexible working arrangements have become widespread with 55% of employers operating job sharing compared to 42% the year before.

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