Oftel has ordered BT to cut its wholesale internet prices following an investigation into unmetered access.
The wholesale charge for dial-up unmetered internet access is to be slashed by 17 per cent, which could in turn lead to lower costs for internet users.
The decision by the telecoms watchdog follows its investigation of a complaint from Cable & Wireless, which claimed that BT charged operators for services they did not want or that they no longer needed, such as call routing and call management.
Oftel said that, because of improvements made in 2001 to BT's network, the telco no longer needed additional mechanisms to protect its system, but was still including charges for these services in its wholesale price.
David Edmonds, Oftel's director general, said in a statement: "BT has made significant improvements to its network since wholesale unmetered internet access was first introduced over three years ago.
"At that time, BT included several mechanisms to route internet calls through to the appropriate service provider, and call management measures to protect its network from being overloaded.
"BT's network can now process internet call traffic without these additional measures. As a result, I have today ordered BT to reduce its wholesale unmetered internet access prices by 17 per cent.
"I have also required BT to backdate these reduced charges to June 2002, when BT upgraded its network. I hope that operators pass these savings onto their customers."
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