Telecoms regulator Oftel finally stepped up the pressure on BT by saying on Friday that it would only force open access regulations on infrastructure operators that had a significant power base in the relevant market.
The watchdog also said that such regulations enforcement would not stretch to cable providers because it was "not justified".
Open access regulations typically force infrastructure providers to let other companies provide services by 'piggy backing' on their networks. But the watchdog said that it would only enforce regulatory action if the infrastructure provider had "market power", meaning that monopoly companies like BT will be first in line.
Oftel added that it would need assurance that the benefits from open access justify the costs, and that open access is an effective way of dealing with the competition problem.
After applying these regulatory tests to cable operators, Oftel admitted that controls on cable companies to promote competition are not justified. Anne Lambert, Oftel's director of operations, said that effective competition is the single most important way to ensure consumers obtain the best possible deal.
"Where competition is not effective, open access regulation enables competing companies to offer services to consumers using another operator's infrastructure," she said.
Lambert added that that it was important that regulation is proportionate.
"Using these tests Oftel has concluded that it is not appropriate to impose new regulatory controls on cable companies at present. We will continue to monitor the situation in order to ensure consumers get the best possible deal," she said.
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