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 BT In Trouble Again Over Prices

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PostSubject: BT In Trouble Again Over Prices   Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:23 am

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BT has been accused of clouding the issues in its reaction to an ISPs' letter to communications minister Ed Vaizey threatening to boycott pilot rural broadband projects over BT's prices for third-party access to its physical infrastructure.

On Monday 4 April, five network operators sent letters to Ed Vaizey and BT CEO Ian Livingston stating that BT's physical infrastructure proposals were not cost-based. On Tuesday BT responded, stating that its proposed prices for duct access compared very well with European averages.

Disappointed in BT

A spokesman for Virgin Media said: "It is disappointing BT has chosen to attempt to obfuscate while others are trying to find a solution to the delivery of quality broadband to the 'final third', areas where there is no other infrastructure except BT's government-gifted ducts and, particularly, poles.

"It is particularly revealing that BT has taken the unusual step of charging anything at all during the trial process, let alone prices that are considerably above that required to ensure investment and competition, which is necessary to meet the ambitions of getting next-generation connectivity to those living outside our towns and cities," he said.

The Virgin Media spokesman says the company has already conducted a number of trials using its own poles in Woolhampton, Berkshire, and those of the local electricity firm in Crumlin, South Wales, so it knows what market prices prevail.

The ISPs' letter, signed by executives from Fujitsu, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Geo and Vtesse, claimed some of BT's physical infrastructure prices were four to five times above what an "efficient market" would charge
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