U.K. Sets Date for Local Loop Unbundling Trials

LONDON (04/05/2000) - Trials of local-loop unbundling will begin in four cities in the U.K. next year, the country's telecommunications regulator announced today.

Fourteen companies have been chosen to participate in the trials, which will begin in January of next year in London, Edinburgh, Leeds and Belfast, the Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) said in a statement.

The companies must now submit requests to incumbent local-loop operator British Telecommunications PLC (BT) to install their own equipment in BT's local exchanges throughout the trial areas, Oftel said.

In addition, from September 2000, operators will be able to place the first orders to rent space to colocate equipment in BT's exchanges.

On receiving the orders from the 14 alternative operators, BT must begin construction of facilities to hold the operators' equipment. When the facilities are complete, operators can install their equipment in the exchanges and begin offering service from July 2001 at the latest, Oftel said.

The operators selected to carry out the trials are Colt Telecom Group PLC, Cable & Wireless Communications PLC, Easynet Ltd., Eircom PLC, Energis PLC, First Telecom PLC, Global Crossing Ltd., Kingston Communications Ltd., MCI WorldCom Inc., NTL Group Ltd., Telewest Communications PLC, Telinco PLC and Thus PLC (formerly Scottish Telecom).

Oftel, in London, can be reached at +44-207-634-8751, or via the Web at http://www.oftel.gov.uk/.

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