eEurope section 2Cheaper Internet
Incumbents should offer unbundled local loops
under non-discriminatory terms and conditions in order to allow
all operators to provide innovative services.
34. As outlined above, OFTEL has decided
to implement Local Loop Unbundling in the UK. OFTEL expects that
the legal framework for Local Loop Unbundling should be in place
before June 2000, and trials of Local Loop Unbundling are due
to start before the end of 2000. From September 2000 all operators
will be able to place orders for space in BT's local exchange
buildings. BT will prepare this space over the following months
to enable operators to deliver services to customers by July 2001
at the latest. The deadline for full launch is July 2001, and
OFTEL is working closely with BT to see if the overall timetable
could be improved.
Leased line tariffs should be significantly
reduced, including cross-border leased lines.
National leased lines
35. OFTEL recognises that leased lines are
an important service which many UK businesses purchase, and are
a particularly important cost input for the development of e-commerce
in the UK. OFTEL's review (carried out in 1999) of international
leased line price comparisons suggests that, while the UK is broadly
comparable with other European countries, its competitive position
has been eroded and, in relation to the US, it appears that for
most types of user US leased line price levels are below those
in the UK.
36. OFTEL has launched a review of the regulatory
framework relating to national leased lines. The plan is to complete
the review and publish a Statement by October 2000.
International leased lines
37. Following its recent investigation of
competition in international markets, OFTEL concluded that the
majority of the most commonly called international leased line
routes are becoming increasingly competitive. OFTEL expects that
this increasing competition will lead to reductions in prices.
Licence requirements for communications services
should be significantly lightened and as far as possible individual
licences should be replaced by general authorisations.
38. Many Internet Service Providers in the
UK already operate under general authorisations (known as class
licences). Under the 1984 Telecommunications Act, only persons
running telecommunication systems need to be licensed. This means
that those Internet Service Providers who are, for example, simply
reselling services without doing any switching do not need any
kind of telecommunications licence. DTI Ministers have indicated
that general policy on regulation of the communications industries
will be the subject of a White Paper later this year. OFTEL is
actively contributing to work on that document.