The UK government has hit out against what it considers ?misunderstandings and inaccuracies? arising from the US Federal Communications Commission?s investigations into the proposed BT/MCI merger.
In an unprecedented move the government has produced a 109-point document, which it claims ?corrects misunderstandings and inaccuracies in some of the respondents? comments to the FCC?. It said the document does not intend to express how the relevant UK, EU or US authorities should treat the merger but to clarify issues raised. Some of these cover international facilities, interconnection charges, and equal access.
The FCC has received numerous comments since it launched its investigations last year, notably from AT&T, which wanted assurances that access between the US and UK is open and equal. It fears BT will discriminate between MCI and other carriers over charges for local connections.
However the government stressed: ?BT?s licence requires it not only to supply interconnection services at cost-based rates, but also in a non-discriminatory fashion such that other operators must be charged the same rates by BT?s network business.?
The document also describes how Oftel calculates BT?s interconnection fees which can account for up to half of the costs of the second carrier. ?BT is required to charge itself for its own use of its network. It is therefore vitally important that BT?s interconnection charges are soundly derived from appropriate costs and give proper economic signals to other operators to guide their investment decisions?, says the report.
The response aims to emphasis the UK?s stringent regulatory regime, which ensures open competition to BT.
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