nettime's_roving_reporter on Tue, 18 Apr 2000 19:50:18 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Covad/USTR threaten UK's BT: DSL or WTO


  U.S. slams BT over DSL access
  By Jane Dudman, CommunicationsWeek International
  17 April 2000   

  The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is considering taking a
  complaint against the United Kingdom to the World Trade
  Organization over access to BT's local network for third-party
  digital subscriber line service providers.

  The USTR has received submissions from DSL specialist Covad
  Communications Co., Santa Clara, California, that BT is preventing
  access to its network for DSL technology, and that regulator Oftel
  is failing to ensure the rollout of DSL services in the United

  A spokesman for Covad said complaints had also been filed to

  Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky
  said the United Kingdom should implement "immediately" a
  European Union proposal that all EU member states allow
  competitive entry of DSL services, through unbundling and
  line-sharing arrangements.

  "We call upon the United Kingdom to implement this
  recommendation immediately consistent with its WTO commitment
  to allow reasonable and non-discriminatory access to BT's
  networks for suppliers of all telecommunications services,"
  Barshefsky said in a statement.

  Barshefsky will review the U.S. demand on 15 June, but it appears
  unlikely that the U.K. position will have changed by that date. Oftel
  this month said third-party operators will be able to deliver DSL
  services to their customers via BT's local loop by July 2001.

  This timescale gives BT, which plans to install its own DSL
  equipment by this summer, a full year in which to get ahead of
  potential competition.

  "When BT rolls out its ADSL service, which is already in trial, [the
  market] will be asymmetric again, because BT will have had the
  [marketing] momentum for a year," said Michael Potter, director of
  telecoms and Internet investment company Paradigm Ventures.

  Rhian Ball, U.K. marketing director of San Jose, California-based
  Concentric Network Corp., which is taking part in U.K. DSL trials
  involving 14 companies, said her company has already experienced
  delays in getting its U.K. data center linked up to BT's DSL
  networks for the trial.

  "We are struggling against slow timescales," said Ball. "And we
  support any moves through industry bodies to push [them]

  A U.S. Trade Representative official said a case against BT could
  be brought to the WTO if progress is not made quickly enough on
  local loop unbundling.

  The European Commission has recommended member states to
  ensure local loop unbundling by December 2000 and it is not yet
  clear whether this timescale will meet the U.S. government's
  demands for immediate action in the United Kingdom. "We are
  watching the situation," said the U.S. Trade Representative

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