Independent Network Operator Slams BT Price Hike

“…It is fallacious to suggest that the UK has a free telecoms market…”

Manchester Metronet says that in a cynical move to suppress publicity, BT has sneakily renamed a range of private network services in order to hide a substantial hike in prices.

As of yesterday BT abandoned its Line Extension Services (LES) in favour of Ethernet Extension Services (EES). Ostensibly, a new name for the same service, but with a price premium estimated on average to be 75%.

Commenting on the price rise, Manchester Metronet Director, James McCall said, “I just can’t believe they have managed to slip this one in unnoticed. They were already charging a fortune for Ethernet Circuits, now they have managed to get away with almost doubling the cost. ISPs almost invariably depend upon BT for local loop LES 10, 100 and 1000 circuits to deliver Internet services to end users. Indeed, BT costs traditionally form the bulk of what the end user pays, a cost that is now to be significantly hiked.”

Manchester Metronet claims that BT’s increase will be passed directly to end users ordering leased line Internet services from their ISP. For an increasing number of businesses, Internet connectivity is mission critical and there is no option other than to have a leased line. For the majority of end users, BT is the common factor, even if it is not supplying the Internet service, a situation, the Company claims, makes nonsense of a deregulated free market. Many customers, unaware that BT is integral to the delivery of their Internet services, face an enormous unexpected increase in costs.

Manchester Metronet’s research also shows that the single most annoying factor facing end users of Internet services is the complicated pricing mechanism for BT circuits. BT pricing is dependent upon myriad factors including existing connectivity infrastructure, the presence of fibre, site distance from a BT exchange, the number exchanges required to support connection, and a contract length measured in years. Customers simply can never be sure that BT can install a circuit, nor indeed how long it might take.

Commenting on this onerous complexity McCall said, “Manchester Metronet, as one of the few network service providers that is truly independent of BT, is responding with a flat, published, fair and competitive pricing model, regardless of location; a model that BT would do well to emulate. The Company also commits to installing connections within 5 days. This is only possible because Manchester Metronet is independent of BT’s antiquated bureaucracy. No smoke and mirrors here.”

Manchester Metronet became aware of changes to BT’s pricing as it prepared to publish its own price list for its secure wireless IP network services, which aims to eradicate the enigma surrounding network pricing with a simple mantra that McCall cited: “Take your Leased Line quotation, halve the cost, double the bandwidth and reduce the delivery time by a factor of ten, and you will be in the ball park for an equivalent Manchester Metronet circuit.”

McCall concludes, “It is fallacious to suggest that the UK has a free telecoms market,” concluded McCall. “BT owns the most vital last mile connectivity, which affords it the opportunity to dictate market prices. Manchester is the model for any City that seeks to introduce a key competitive edge for local businesses and encourage inward investment.”

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