BT claims administration issues rather than technical problems have delayed the rollout of its high-speed ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) service to consumers.
Last week the telco said the rollout of its consumer ADSL services would be delayed until September while essential "flood testing" takes place. BT said ISPs testing the service had not provided enough candidates to see how the service would cope under pressure.
However, while some experts have said ADSL will experience technical problems, including interference when rolled out in bulk, BT has said that the remaining problems are not technology-related. Instead, it claims the problems are "complex" back-office issues such as the running of billing and ordering systems.
A BT spokesman said: "There needs to be sufficient testing of handling processes such as database management, and billing and ordering processes. The end user will interact with the ISP, which interacts with the network operator. While this sounds fine on paper, it is actually a complex issue and we need to make sure the process is painless for the end user."
Industry watchdog Oftel said it is monitoring the rollout of ADSL services, but a spokesman said: "As far as we are aware BT has not missed any deadline with [its ADSL] consumer service."
However, ISPs planning to launch ADSL consumer services say they still don't know when they will be able to roll out their consumer services, but are pressing ahead with the launch of the business services later this month.
Telecoms company iomart yesterday announced its ADSL package and said it would begin full installation of both consumer and business ADSL services at the end of the month.
The company will offer four packages for its service, including Dazzle 500U which will enable speeds of up to 512kbps for £39.99 per month with a £150 installation fee. This package requires attachment to a USB port on the PC. The Dazzle 500, which requires an ethernet card, will cost £154.40 per month for 512kbps with a £260 set-up fee.
The Dazzle 2000 package will offer speeds up to 2Mbps and will cost £234.44 per month with a £260 installation fee.
iomart said Madasafish successfully trialled ADSL using BT's network, and said it does not expect BT's announcement to affect the launch, which is expected to go ahead at the end of this month.
A spokesman for iomart said the company has not been told about the delay. "We have not heard from BT, so as far as we are aware we will install customers at the end of July."
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