Ofcom, the UK regulatory authority, has today confirmed the appointment of an independent "Telecommunications Adjudicator", who is given a specific mandate to resolve operational matters (not cost/price issues) relating to the deployment of local loop unbundling (LLU).

Twelve operators, including the fixed incumbent operator BT, have agreed to work with the Adjudicator to "find a prompt mediated resolution of working-level implementation disputes". BT has formally agreed to abide by the decisions of the Adjudicator.

In the statement it published today, Ofcom sets out its view that "to pursue formal and direct regulatory intervention in response to each complaint about operational matters relating to LLU would be disproportionate and, as a likely cause of greater delay, ultimately ineffective."  The Adjudicator Ofcom has appointed, Peter Black, will operate independently from Ofcom and "will work with the industry to help develop new local loop unbundling products and processes which are fit-for-purpose and industrialised to cope with large volumes over time".

Today's Ofcom statement, which is entitled "Ofcom sets out long-term approach to further development of broadband" also sets out an ambition to see "second-generation broaderband services" develop in the UK on the basis of LLU during the rest of the decade, and cites the examples of Japan and France, where tens of thousands of loops are unbundled each month (and where voice, rich media and television services are provided over xDSL on unbundled loops).

The work of the Telecommunications Adjudicator will proceed in parallel with the Ofcom review of Market 11: Wholesale unbundled access (including shared access) to metallic loops and subloops
for the purpose of providing broadband and voice services.