A BT Group Plc (BT.L) executive has called for the United States to require its telecommunications companies to allow access to their networks at regulated prices, similar to rules in place in the United Kingdom, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.
Bas Burger, president of the British company’s Americas unit, told the newspaper that a lack of regulation has hampered competition in the United States, where AT&T Inc (T.N) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) control about 80 percent of the telephone and broadband lines used by homes and businesses. Burger said BT Group must charge customers more because it has to pay large fees to the U.S. rivals to carry data over these wires.
Contracts BT and others have with the U.S. telecoms should be regulated to guarantee a minimum quality of service, he said. For example, the U.S. companies have no specific time frame for fixing an outage that takes down one of BT’s networks, the report said.
Verizon, AT&T and BT were not immediately available for comment.
British telecom regulator Ofcom is considering a breakup of BT, the country’s dominant provider, after its rivals accused it of abusing its market position and failing to invest in the broadband networks that the rivals rely on.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Roche and Lisa Von Ahn)(Reuters)