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October 26, 1995

BRITISH TELECOM SERVICES SHOULD BE SEPARATED FROM THE NETWORK – DEMOS

By CBR Staff Writer

A pamphlet produced by independent UK think-tank Demos has advocated that a break-up of British Telecommunications Plc would speed the development of a supermarket of communications. Separating the company’s network from its service operations would provide the framework for radical change and open the way for an explosion of telecommunications services, it argues. According to the report, British Telecom’s network should be owned by an open association similar to that which operates the Visa credit card system and the Internet. The report’s authors say a society of networks tied in to the British Telecom operation would have major potential service providers as members. There would be guarantees of open access, incentives to maximise usage and keep prices low, and permanent competitive pressures. In place of a deregulated monopoly, the network would co-exist alongside a fully deregulated market. The authors argue that the existing set-up acts as a barrier to achieving open access to networks, fair pricing and a wider choice of services. British Telecom shareholders would be issued with infrastructure bonds to maintain a stream of income from their investment.

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