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OFTEL PROPOSES NEW INFRASTRUCTURE LIABILITY SCHEME

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Oftel has today announced new proposals to ensure that highway ...
Oftel has today announced new proposals to ensure that highway

authorities have access to funds to cover the costs they incur when

removing redundant telecoms apparatus, such as phone boxes and street

cabinets.

Under the proposed new scheme, each individual telecoms operator

would have to provide Oftel with a certificate approved by its Board

of Directors certifying that it had funds in place. Companies would

also have to provide details of how they would ensure that these

funds are made available, for example, insurance or performance

bonds.

Telecommunications licences state that operators must have access to

funds available, so that highway authorities can remove apparatus

from streets and roads in the event that a telecoms company ceases to

trade or has its licence revoked.

The new proposals follow a consultation last year in which Oftel

sought initial views from a wide range of parties.

Announcing the proposals, David Edmonds, director general of

Telecommunications, said today:

'Telecoms operators have an obligation to ensure they have access to

sufficient funds to cover the removal of redundant apparatus on

streets owned by highway authorities.

'If a company ceases to trade and no other operator takes over the

equipment, redundant items such as phone boxes and street cabinets

need to be removed by highway authorities.

'Informal arrangements have worked well up until now, but as there

are now many more telecoms operators, Oftel believes that a more

formal scheme is needed.

'Under the proposed scheme, operators will have to satisfy Oftel that

they have funds in place and provide details of how they will access

them.

'The new scheme is consistent with Oftel's strategy of moving away

from regulation where appropriate and encouraging the industry to

take greater responsibility.'

Notes

1. Funds for liabilities: the way forward is available on Oftel's

website .

Hard copies are available from Oftel's research and

intelligence unit on 020 7634 8761.

2. Oftel launched a consultation, Funds for liabilities, last year

(www.oftel.gov.uk/publications/licensing/2001/funds0601.htm) on

which it set out initial proposals for a new scheme.

3. Oftel's strategy is one of 'appropriate regulation'. Appropriate

regulation means regulation adjusted to the level of competition in

the market and focused on the area of concern. Too much regulation,

as well as too little regulation, can work against consumers'

interests by deterring investment and innovation.

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