Oftel is laying down the law to BT over the contents of its service level agreement with other operators regarding the unbundling of the local loop, the last mile of copper or fibre lines between home and telephone exchange.
BT is expected to draw up new contracts with the operators in order to incorporate Oftel's plans over service levels, which include requiring BT to pay £10 for each working day an unbundled loop is unavailable, and £80 per operator for each working day's delay in providing co-location facilities.
In May, operators complained bitterly to Oftel over BT's proposed level of service agreement. Oftel has now upheld these complaints and, for the first time, dictated service level standards to BT.
The agreements are needed to allow operators to offer service quality and maintenance guarantees to consumers.
David Edmonds, director general at Oftel, said: "In February Oftel ordered BT to provide operators guaranteed levels of service for the provision of unbundled local loops. After negotiations between BT and operators, it is clear that Oftel intervention is required to ensure that BT offers satisfactory service level agreements.
"The service level commitment will ensure that BT delivers a reasonable service to operators ordering unbundled local loops. Consumers will benefit because operators can now guarantee timescales for delivery of service and fault repair.
"Where BT does not fulfil these commitments, it will be required to pay a level of compensation determined by Oftel which reflects the revenue lost by operators.
"BT will also have to compensate operators for their extra costs if it does not have an automated system for ordering local loops in place by its planned date of 5 November."
BT has until 20 September to respond.
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