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July 6, 1987

BRITISH TELECOM, TRADE BODY MOVE TO SPEED APPROVALS OF COMMUNICATIONS KIT

By CBR Staff Writer

A move to iron out problems associated with UK Pre-Connection Inspection by British Telecom of equipment that third parties want to offer for connection to the telecommunications network, and with British Approvals Board for Telecommunications, BABT, examinations, is underway in a new code of practice, drawn up by the Telecommunications Industry Association, TIA, trade body, in conjunction with British Telecom. The new rules, which took effect late last month for certain equipment, aim to speed up the approvals processes. Chief executive of the TIA Richard Woollam says his body is pushing for a mandatory requirement under Pre-Connection Inspection for telephone installers to have some form of approval. Currently, any Tom, Dick or Harry can install equipment, despite the fact that maintainers have to be approved. Problems have also occurred because companies selling telecommunications equipment must be inspected by British Telecom, which is usually, of course, their main competitor. The thinking is that if the British Standards Institute were to approve someone to do an installation there is would be need for British Telecom to check the equipment, as there would be a third party to approve equipment in the shape of the BABT, and a third party to install it, the Standards Institute. At the moment British Telecom and the Approvals Board vet equipment and pass it as fit for use. There is also a new rule, which obliges British Telecom to provide a time and a date in writing to companies for Pre-Connection Inspection, the time and date to be notified within 15 days of order acknowledgement. Administrative backlog is also jamming up the system for approvals from the Board BABT. The Telecommunications Industry Association has been fighting for eight months to implement some form of self-approval process for industry by freeing commercial laboratories to act as agents for Telecom. This would mean that the costs of getting equipment approved would stay down, because numerous bodies would compete with each other for business and it would speed up the process. The delay and costs of the Approvals Board have been a severe blow to smaller companies. The new Pre-Connection rules went ahead this month for telephony apparatus, modems and some auxilliary apparatus such as call loggers and call management systems.

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