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Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said: "These changes will be the biggest for UK telephone customers in more than a decade."We expect them to restore people's confidence in using phone services, and to increase competition." Between 1p and 11p per minute depending on the time of day for landline customers, often include a call set-up fee of up to 14p.Such national-infrastructure tasks are carried out by BT's Openreach division, which is required by Ofcom to be managed separately from the rest of BT in order to allow competitors fair access to the UK telecoms market for both voice calls and internet.BT's competing telcos are currently pushing for Openreach to be completely separated from BT.Calls from mobile phones generally cost between 14p and 41p per minute Calls typically cost between 9p and £1.69 per minute or per call from a BT landline, but other landline providers can charge up to £2.60 per minute.BT is asking Ofcom to be freed from its obligation to provide ordinary PSTN/POTS voice telephone connections across the UK.All of them would like it if the OTT players faced more regulation, and they themselves faced less – though nobody except BT would relish the thought of a deregulated UK market with Openreach still under BT control.
At the moment for most of the UK this means that BT's copper lines must have, at the exchange (or maybe cabinet) end, equipment which can receive and connect up a PSTN/POTS voice call from a user's old-school phone, as well as DSL gear for IP traffic.
And if the regulators – British or EU – are on top of their jobs, they'll be well aware of the fact that quite a lot of people's copper line won't carry an internet connection capable of voice traffic with decent quality and reliability.
Plenty more have a copper line that could carry such a connection, but don't have or want either a DSL modem or an IP phone.
She also said the Cabinet Office would publish guidance for departments' use of number prefixes "shortly", adding that the Government "believes it is inappropriate for callers to pay high call charges for accessing vital public services".
The move follows a Public Accounts Committee report last month that found more than 100 million calls by the public to central Government departments were charged at a premium rate.
And BT must maintain suitable supporting PSTN systems as well.