BT's ADSL excuse - industry wants the truth

More shame for BT's ADSL rollout as experts question whether the telco is telling the truth
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

ISPs and experts have expressed bafflement at BT's (quote: BT) latest excuse for failing to deliver ADSL, claiming there are hordes of people wanting to get their hands on the high speed technology.

The reaction follows the fourth delay from BT, which blames a lack of triallists for its failure to deliver ADSL this coming Friday. This latest delay will push the rollout back until August or September according to BT.

But while the telco claims a lack of interest has prevented it "flood testing" the system, ISPs claim they have queues of people waiting for the service. "People are falling over themselves to become triallists," according to an AOL spokesman. "We are not aware of any shortage. Where we have the capacity we have filled it."

Adam Daum, analyst with research firm Gartner Group is finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with BT's excuses. "It is impossible to know who is telling the truth. Saying there are not enough triallists when the ISPs claim they are queuing up is beginning to sound like deliberate obfuscation," he says.

ISPs are becoming increasingly frustrated by the delays. "We have been here before. Every single ISP is beholden to BT and the custodian of the infrastructure is moving on BT time not consumer time," says the AOL spokesman. "It is a difficult process but there is an extent to which it is reasonable to delay it. Consumers will not be blaming BT, they just want to know when they can get ADSL on AOL and it is frustrating for us because we want to give it to them."

Demon is taking more direct action: it has lodged a formal complaint with Oftel. The ISP -- headed by telco Thus -- claims BT is abusing its dominant position in respect to ADSL, prejudicing Demon's chances of achieving a simultaneous launch of high speed services. It also alleges that BT may be showing undue preference to its own service provider, BT OpenWorld.

Oftel is considering the complaint.

BT hit back at its critics, claiming it treats all ISPs the same. "We treat all our ISPs in exactly the same way, irrespective of size," says a BT spokesman. "There is nothing stopping another network operator from building out an ADSL network but we believe we are doing it fairly."

There have been suggestions that the real reason for the delay is due to interference on the lines but BT denies this. "I have no idea where that comes from," says a spokesman. "We just need more people to use ADSL services at one time so we can test that order handling and everything is running smoothly."

Go to Rupert Goodwins Broadband technology roundup at AnchorDesk UK.

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.

Take me to the ADSL Special

Editorial standards