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Demon accuses BT of foul play on ADSL

The Scottish telco believes BT is cheating to unfairly advantage its own ISP in the rollout of ADSL
Written by Jane Wakefield, Contributor

The row over ADSL intensifies Thursday as Demon accuses the British Telecommunications of being anti-competitive.

Demon -- owned by Scottish telco Thus (quote: THUS)-- claims BT (quote: BT) charges its own ISP, BT OpenWorld, less for ADSL than other ISPs. The revelation comes as BT announces a fourth delay to ADSL -- this time until late August or early September.

ISPs have expressed anger at BT's claim that there are not yet enough triallists to test the ADSL infrastructure adequately. Demon has gone one step farther -- accusing the telco of being anti-competitive. "The wholesale rate is at a higher price than that which it is charging BT OpenWorld," says a Thus spokesman.

A formal complaint submitted to Oftel in March is currently being considered by the watchdog. "If they [BT] are charging more then that needs to be investigated. We have to ensure that they are charging at the same rate," says an Oftel spokesman. A statement is expected in August.

BT claims Demon has got its facts wrong. "It is utter nonsense that we are giving preferential treatment to our own ISP. The terms and conditions are exactly the same for any ISP," says a spokesman.

BT claims the wholesale price of ADSL is £35, plus an installation fee of £150 per customer. Demon is reluctant to disclose what price is it being charged claiming it is "commercially sensitive". BT admits that the £35 monthly cost does not include the fat pipe connecting ISPs to the exchange and claims it does offer bulk discounts and different rates depending on how many customers are being connected.

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