Thirteen companies and federations urge the Commission to quickly harmonise access regulation on local loop, especially pricing and provisioning.
In their letter,13 companies and federations(amongst them WorldCom, KPNQwest and EuroISPA):
- accuse incumbent operators of "stifling competition" through "strategic incompetence";
- claim the incumbents are "abusing their dominant position" in local access leased lines;
- as a consequence "deny consumers and businesses the benefits of a competitive telecoms market", namely, innovative product offerings, higher quality services and reduced prices;
- call upon the Commission to take immediate action to counter this.
Asked by EURACTIV, theEuropean telecommunications network operators (ETNO)states it disagrees with the tone and content of the letter because of its "flexible use of statistics", it "dangerously simplifies and generalises" the issues at stake as "unbundling is a technically complex issue".
Unbundling the local loop is one of the key elements of the European Commission'seEurope plan to make the Internet access more widely available to the general public. Following a Commission Regulation, local loops should have been unbundled by 1 January 2001. Local loop unbundling (LLU) is the process where the incumbent operator makes its local network (the cables that run from customer to the telephone exchange) available to other companies. Operators are then able to upgrade individual lines using DSL (digital subscriber line) technology to offer services such as 'always on' high speed Internet access, direct to the customer.
- The Commission will publish the 7th report on implementation of telecoms legislation next week.