31/07/2001

UK internet access flourishes as dial-up competition hots up

The UK has a flourishing dial-up Internet access market that offers a wide range of unmetered access services at competitive prices, Oftel confirmed in a report published on July 30.

Oftel has set out its initial conclusions on the level of competition in the dial-up narrowband Internet market, and is now consulting on these views.

In a consultation document published on Tuesday, the review highlights that 10 million households have Internet access – up from six million a year ago, 35 per cent of households choose some form of unmetered Internet access package, consumers have some concerns about the quality of customer service they receive and the availability of information to enable them to chose the right package.

Oftel sets out its initial conclusions from its review of three markets: dial-up narrowband retail Internet access, wholesale call origination and wholesale Internet call termination.

Oftel considers that competition is effective both in the retail and wholesale Internet call termination markets. While wholesale call origination is not effectively competitive, there is already regulation in place to address this in the form of a cap on BT’s charges and Oftel’s FRIACO direction.

Oftel will now consult with the industry and consumer groups before reaching final decisions on whether action is needed to promote further competition in either the retail or wholesale markets.

(GB)

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