Telecoms trade body the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) has accused European incumbents of dragging their feet in the issue of opening up their exchanges to competition.
In a new study published by the group today, ECTA outlines that despite European Union (EU) laws promoting the opening up of the so-called "local loop" coming into force a year ago, little progress has been made, especially in the UK.
According to the study, less than 0.01 per cent of Europe's local loop lines have been "unbundled" to new market players.
Germany heads the pack, with 623,000 lines opened up, and Denmark with 40,000.
The UK lags well behind, despite New Labour noises in favour of the principles, with only 164 of BT's 29 million lines available to competitors.
ECTA blamed cost, complexity and foot-dragging by incumbents in the prevention of line liberation. "Policy makers need to go back to the drawing board and give competitors a way of accessing local exchanges without huge, up-front expenditure," said ECTA head of regulatory affairs, John Dickie.
The number of interested parties expressing an interest in competing in BT's exchanges has fallen from 40 to just three.
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