ECONOMY

Telecoms regulator sets out terms for OTE to allow rivals more access to local loop

Greece’s telecoms regulator said it has set out terms to allow alternative carriers to share access to local telephone networks owned by former fixed-line monopoly OTE Telecom. «This offer will be the basis of negotiations for the conclusion of related agreements between the interested parties and OTE,» regulator National Telecommunications and Posts Commission (EETT) said in a statement released late on Friday. The move is seen as an important step by the country toward opening up local telephone services fully to competition and averting possible action from the European Union. The European Union said late last year that Greece was one of three member states that could face legal action for failing to open up local telephone services fully to competition. The European Commission warned on December 20 that Greece, along with Germany and Portugal, could face legal action in the European Court of Justice unless they acted to increase competition on the local loop – the phone lines running between homes or businesses to telephone exchanges. The Commission says many member states have been slow to ensure that access to the local loop was available to new competitors so they could offer high-speed Internet and other services. The local loop unbundling rule came into effect on January 1. The three countries had two months to implement the regulations. Greece was the last European Union country to open its fixed-line telephone market to competition, lifting OTE’s monopoly as of January 1, 2001.(Reuters) Turkish bonds and stocks traded flat yesterday but the lira rose to five-month highs against the dollar as optimism over Ecevit’s trip to Washington outweighed worries over possible US action in Iraq.