PARIS (04/18/2000) - France Télécom SA has revealed its plans to open up the local loop to competing providers of broadband Internet access services over ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) .
The company announced the plans yesterday in an eleventh-hour response to the French competition council, which had given the company until this morning to explain how it would open up its local loop network, where it holds a near monopoly, to its competitors.
Starting today, the company will offer its competitors access to the Connect IP service, "technically and economically equivalent" to an ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) virtual private circuit, to link subscribers to a backbone network, France Télécom said today in a statement.
Another service, Connect ATM, which offers a true ATM virtual private circuit, will be commercially available starting in October, a spokesperson for the company said today. France Télécom blames the delay in introducing this service on the need to install additional equipment and network management systems.
The competition council had been advised of the prices France Télécom planned to charge, said the spokesperson, but these were still subject to the council's approval.
Competing operator 9 Télécom, a subsidiary of Telecom Italia SPA, complained to the competition council on Nov. 29 last year that it had not been offered the necessary access to France Télécom's infrastructure in order to offer competing high-speed Internet access services. On Feb. 18, the competition council gave France Télécom just eight weeks to propose a way for other operators to gain access to permanent virtual circuits in the backbone ATM network that it uses to provide high-speed internet access to ADSL subscribers.
France Télécom, in Paris, France, can be reached at +33-1-44-44-22-22 or on the Web at http://www.francetelecom.fr/.