Telecoms news

Telecoms news

HAY - JUN THE COMPUTER LAW AND SECURITY REPORT support various international legal efforts, and also what work, in the form of uniform rules, model ...

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HAY - JUN

THE COMPUTER LAW AND SECURITY REPORT

support various international legal efforts, and also what work, in the form of uniform rules, model contracts or legal guides, the ICC should produce. An ICC United Kingdom EDI working group has also been established to co-ordinate activity domestically. Further information from ICC United Kingdom, tel: 071-8232811.

TELECOMS NEWS • White Paper on Telecommunications Published The Government's white paper, 'Competition and Choice: Telecommunication Policy for the 1990s" was published on 5 March. It details many decisions likely to shape and extend the way services are offered to customers in the UK. The White Paper proposes an end to the duopoly under conditions of continued regulation, designed to provide the best prospect of efficient service at the lowest level of prices. The proposals have been welcomed by British Telecom, who have endorsed them as good for the customer and for the industry. Commenting on the review, BT Chairman, lain Vallance, admitted that the proposals, particularly on pricing, presented a tough challenge to BT, but it was one the company was ready to accept. The Chairman endorsed OFTEL's approach of moving from managed to more open competition and the establishment of a more certain and predictable regulatory environment. He also welcomed Sir Bryan Carsberg's statement about BT's improvements in quality of service and the progress the company was making in streamlining and re-shaping its operations through its "putting the customer first" initiative. The White Paper has also been welcomed by the English National Advisory Committee on Telecommunications (ENACT). The Committee had given extensive advice to the Director General of OFTEL in commenting on the Government's consultation document and had recommended many of the steps now announced to increase competition and choice. Commenting, the Chairman of ENACT, Mr Robin Hutton, said: "Telecommunication is a dynamic industry and must therefore not be saddled with static regulation. The regime the Government has

announced will open the UK market to more competition and will interfere with that competition only to the extent, and for the time, necessary to offset the dominance of one service provider. As more players enter the field and more choices become available to users, the hand of regulator can be drawn back. Meanwhile, the individual and small business customer is continuing to be protected against excessively rapid tariff rises, while the rest of business and industry will be able to look for the most economic solutions to their telecommunications needs." The White Paper is obtainable from HMSO. (See further p.45 of this Issue)

Wiring Regulations Simplified OFTEL has announced some significant changes designed to reduce and simplify the regulation of wiring on customers' premises. The main change is that restrictions, which limit the length of wiring used to provide direct or indirect connections to the public telecommunication systems, have been removed. A new code of practice - the Wiring Code which gives up to date guidance on what to do, and what not to do when designing your own wiring system, has now been published. Commenting, the Director General of Telecommunications, Sir Bryan Carsberg, said: "1 am pleased to announce this reduction in wiring regulations as it will give customers more freedom and choice when designing their own systems. OFTEL's new Wiring Code reflects these changes and provides valuable advice on the best practice to follow so that customers can achieve a satisfactory performance with the apparatus they have installed." Part 1 of the new Wiring Code covers domestic and other simple systems - Part 2, on business and other complex systems, will be published later this year. Part 1 will be of most help to the domestic customer with little knowledge of telecommunications who wishes to install a simple system with no call routing apparatus. Copies of Part 1 of the Wiring Code are available from OFTEL, tel: 071-8221641.

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Major Research Study on Telephone Numbering Published A major report, commissioned by OFTEL and carried out by the consultants Ovum Ltd, has been published dealing with the future of numbering for telephony services. The principle recommendation in the report is that OFTEL should seek agreement with the telecommunications industry for a new 10-digit numbering scheme and timetable for its implementation. Commenting, the Director General remarked: "1 consider that the arrangements for numbering are vital to the effective working of competition and I wish to establish two main principles, as proposed in the Governments recent white paper. First, OFTEL should have the authority to administer any numbering plan, so that it can ensure consistency among all operators. Second, I want to ensure that number portability can be introduced - at least to the extent that a customer can change networks without changing telephone number." The report, entitled 'Numbering for Telephony Services into the 21st Century" is available from HMSO, price: £35 (main report - ISBN 0115152784), £400 (appendices ISBN 0115152792). British Telecom's Double Attack on Malicious Telephone Callers British Telecom has launched a two-pronged attack on the problem of malicious and obscene telephone callers, pledging more help to victims. The latter can now telephone a free national help line number for recorded advice and guidance on how to deal with such calls. The 24-hour number is 0800-666700. British Telecom has also changed its standard contract so that telephones which are used for malicious calls can be disconnected regardless of who makes the calls. Until now, the telephone could be disconnected only if the customer himself had made the offensive calls or had knowingly allowed them to be made. Disconnection would only take place after customers had been given every opportunity to stop their telephone being misused. The moves are complimented by a special leaflet