Headlines: December 11th, 1998

OFTEL is consulting on whether further regulation is needed to ensure rapid developments in communications are shared by families and small businesses as well as major corporations.It follows concern that innovative services such as high-speed Internet access and video on demand might be limited to larger customers.

Launching the document, Director General of Telecommunications, David Edmonds said: “We want to ensure that there are no barriers to provision of these services by operators who want to offer them.

“Our document raises a series of questions about the level of demand for such services, now and in the future, and the various alternative means of supply – from access over BT’s network to new technology.”

And he warned: “If there are obstacles to the delivery of these services we shall consider regulatory action to remove them.”

OFTEL’s consultation document, Access to Bandwidth – Bringing Higher Bandwidth Services to the Consumer, raises the possibility of loosening the control on the landline telephone network held by BT, and could see lines, equipment and parts of the network more accessible to other competitors.

The Document is available on OFTEL’s website: http://www.oftel.gov.uk Copies are also available to the public from OFTEL’s Research & Intelligence Unit on 0171 634 8761. The consultation period runs until 10 March next year.