1. BT welcomes the opportunity to comment on Oftel's proposals for the regulation of Premium Rate Services (PRS) to take account of the impending removal of the current arrangements.
2. BT agrees that providers of Electronic Communication Networks (ECNPs) have a role to play in supporting Regulatory bodies in the regulation of PRS.
3. We believe that the existing arrangements whereby ICSTIS relies on the "co-operation of all telecoms operators" (paragraph 1.5) to support sanctions does not provide adequate protection to ECNPs or consumers.
4. BT believes that it is vital that ICSTIS provides ECNPs with indemnification in respect of any potential liability incurred in acting on the instructions of ICSTIS or any other relevant Regulatory body.
5. BT believes that there is an inherent weakness in the existing regulatory arrangements whereby the onus is placed firmly with the CP (paragraph 1.6) to ensure that these 'third parties' offering PRS comply with the ICSTIS Code of Practice.
6. BT believes that Oftel's/Ofcom's statutory support (paragraph 1.7) to the work of ICSTIS must stretch to the indemnification of ECNPs.
7. In particular, BT is concerned that the imposition of sanctions through ECNPs by regulatory bodies, in the matter of PRS services terminating outside the UK via ordinary international direct dialled numbers, has no sound legal basis.
8. We urge the regulatory bodies to place this matter on a firm legal platform and generally clarify the regulatory position relating to 'cross-border' PRS.
9. BT believes that there should be no "voluntary" requirements (paragraph 1.7) in a direction that potentially leaves ECNPs exposed to legal challenge when enacting sanctions on behalf of ICSTIS.
10. BT believes that it is not enough for overseas PRS via ordinary international direct dialled (IDD) numbers to be "susceptible" to a regulatory regime (paragraph 1.20). They are either subject to, or not subject to regulation.
11. We feel that the provision of indemnification to ECNPs in respect of any potential liability incurred in acting on the instructions of ICSTIS or any other relevant Regulatory body should be explicitly stated in the conditions (paragraphs 2.15 & 2.16).
12. BT has already commented on matters raised here in our response to The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (ICSTIS) Draft (2 May 2003) Code of Practice (tenth Edition) (COMMUNICATIONS BILL VERSION).
BT welcomes comments on this submission which should be sent to: