Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

16 Feb 2001 : Column WA67

Written Answer

Friday, 16th February 2001.

Broadband Services

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the claims by the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) that Oftel is failing to create a competitive market for broadband services in the United Kingdom and that this has the effect of extending the monopoly of incumbent telephone companies from voice to data. [HL562]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The European Competitive Telecommunications Association report considers progress on local loop unbundling in the European Union. The data in that report with respect to the UK contain significant errors and do not give an accurate picture of the roll out of ADSL or progress with local loop unbundling. Higher bandwidth

16 Feb 2001 : Column WA69

services using ADSL over local exchange lines are already available in many parts of the country on a wholesale and retail basis from BT and from Kingston in the Hull area. Cable modems, optical fibre, broadband fixed wireless access and satellites all have the potential now or in the near future to offer broadband services.

The Government's position on access to higher bandwidth services, including broadband services, was set out in A New Future for Communications [Cm 5010] published on 12 December 2000. Both competition between networks using a range of technologies and over those networks will be important. In order to promote industry investment in higher bandwidth services we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the regulatory environment provides the maximum degree of encouragement for such investment. This includes vigorous action to complete the unbundling of BT's local loop and we fully support Oftel's efforts to bring this about.

We have set out further proposals for achieving the goal of having the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005 in Opportunity for all in a world of change published on 13 February. An action plan--UK Online: the broadband future, (available online at also published on 13 February.

   Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page