BT is putting off until later this year any announcement about its long-anticipated plans for high-speed Net access.
A BT spokesman told PC Week that the company would not release a timetable for building its ADSL (asynchronous digital subscriber line) system, which would offer Internet access at 2Mbps.
This contradicts BT's admission in January that it needed to wait until July to outline the service. The delay to July already represented a three-month setback, caused by "teething problems" in delivery and support mechanisms, the service's marketing manager exclusively told PC Week (19 January).
Oftel told PC Week that its representatives had recently met BT to discuss ADSL, but an Oftel spokesman declined to disclose what was said.
Those discussions followed the suggestion in the House of Commons on 9 June by Conservative MP Ian Bruce that BT would announce its ADSL timetable for rollout "within weeks". Then BT's finance director, Robert Brace, told a group of City investors on 25 June that the service would launch in August.
Last week, however, a BT spokesman told PC Week that the company would make an announcement on ADSL "in due course" after it had analysed ongoing trials. The company is testing roughly 2,000 small businesses and home users in north London.
Criticism of BT's handling of ADSL been building, with leading industry figures and MPs speaking out against the delays. In a Commons debate on telecoms regulation and the Internet, Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb asked: "Is BT a slumbering giant? Is that why the company has not moved as fast as it might have done to take up that technology?"
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