UK regulator Oftel's role examined

BT has come in for a kicking over its role in the UK Internet market. Now it's Oftel's turn to feel the boot

Oftel, the UK telecoms regulator, is coming under increasing fire for its failure to move forward cheaper, competitive Internet services in the UK. If it breathed a sigh of relief when unmetered narrowband services looked like opening up the market it would have been hiding under the sheets as unmetered ISPs fell by the wayside. The next big Internet hope -- broadband -- is now under question with Ovum suggesting it will be too costly for other telcos and the industry and the European Commission urging Oftel to bring forward its July 2001 deadline for unbundling the local loop. Critics have suggested Oftel allows BT to dictate its policy and that the Internet market needs a new regulator. With director general David Edmonds becoming increasingly apologetic about the watchdog's role in the Internet industry, the question on industry's lips appears to be -- is it time to relegate the regulator? OFTEL'S ROLE IN THE INTERNET ACCESS SAGA:
ADSL only suitable for BT says research firm
Wed, 27 Sep Only BT will be able to afford to roll out ADSL even after the local loop is unbundled, according to a study from research firm Ovum Oftel accuses of bungling unbundling
Tue, 26 Sep In a strongly worded letter to Oftel Tuesday, World Online lays down a challenge to the telecoms regulator -- sort out the unbundling fiasco or face the wrath of the industry Oftel fails the UK - reports
Fri, 22 Sep Oftel makes the headlines again as pressure mounts on the regulator to do something about BT's Internet stranglehold Firms quit but broadband access still on track says Oftel
Thu, 21 Sep According to WorldCom, the decision to pull out was commercial, not a result of Oftel's failure to pressure BT into managing rollout on schedule US firms abandon UK broadband plans
Thu, 21 Sep Local loop unbundling in more trouble as major US players walk away Oftel takes blame for local loop unbundling delay
Wed, 20 Sep The head of Oftel, David Edmonds, acknowledged Tuesday that the telecommunications watchdog is partly to blame for the sluggish unbundling of BT's "local loop" Oftel unveils controversial ADSL plans
Tue, 1 Aug Oftel has released its official guidelines for unbundling the local loop, but the rules appear to contravene a European Community directive Oftel looks set for clash with EC
Thu, 13 Jul Oftel doesn't know what exactly the EC wants and in the meantime, BT is holding out as long as it can Jane Wakefield: Oftel -- watchdog or lapdog?
Fri, 29 Sep In the beginning there was a telco... and it was downhill from there really COMMENT
The Accused -- Oftel
The world is full of coincidences but Guy Kewney can see no reason to assume that there's any connection between the growing rage over would-be broadband Internet users who want the faster links, and the reprimand of Oftel from on high. English patience wears thin
Being English, Peter Judge is used to inconvenience and does not mind waiting for broadband. But BT's rivals are becoming so impatient they may resort to the law. Check out ZDNet's Interactive Broadband Guide To have your say online click on the TalkBack button and go to the ZDNet News forum. Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.