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World Online pulls out of broadband

Bullish BT bumps another one off

ISP World Online has joined the swelling ranks of companies who've decided trying to set up broadband ADSL services in the UK isn't worth the hassle and the cost. In a cruel twist, Deutsche Telekom in Germany is being investigated for making broadband too cheap.

At a recent meeting chaired by UK telecoms watchdog, Oftel, delays in the unbundling process were attributed primarily to cost. Competitors expressed their concerns over the high costs being imposed by BT, despite BT’s claim that Oftel had set the pricing guidelines. [see our story]

Since the meeting, Kingston Communications and Thus, two of the original 14 telecoms operators involved in the process have pulled out.

In the crazy world of not-quite-deregulated European telecoms, German telecoms operator RegTP is currently conducting investigations into Deutsche Telekom for allegedly offering high-speed internet access at prices below cost.

In October 2000, RegTP, ordered that Telekom offer customers unmetered net access, before February 2001. After eventually accepting the decision, Telekom has now breached trading practices by offering the service at uncompetitive prices.

An investigation into Telekom’s practices is due to be completed by 2 April. But the German government is still the main shareholder in Telekom, and any decision is expected to be fairly easy on the company, in a bid to damage the company’s share price as little as possible.

Regarding Oftel, the Department of Trade and Industry said that an announcement, as to whether public subsidies will be needed to quicken up the process, would be announced next month.

The DTI were unwilling to comment further until their official statement is released.

Oftel may have to make concessions to quicken the process, such as allowing operators to install their equipment alongside BTs, rather than in separate rooms. Oftel stated that nothing had yet been made official and they are still in talks with operators.

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