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The telecommunications "watchdog" (independent regulatory body) in the UK. Until recently, was considered to be completely toothless and in the pocket of BT, the major telecoms company (in fact, a monopoly) that is roughly equivalent to Bell before it was broken up. European authorities have started turning the heat up on OFTEL. They - and we, the consumers - want to see BT unbundle the local loop as it has grudgingly promised to do. Everybody knows however, that the moment the local loop is prised from BT's hands, their revenue will evaporate like a vampire on a sunbed.

So BT have managed to chuck out a vast smokescreen of delay tactics, revolving around a protracted and bureaucratic process to "allocate space within BT exchanges for other operator's equipment". (Yes, it really is that desperate.) The current schedule can be estimated to allow UK homes and businesses to have cheap broadband (ADSL) shortly after the Earth is consumed by the Sun. They all need a bloody good hiding. And the TV licence people should be next in the queue. *Fume*.

OFTEL are currently being replaced by a consolidated communications watchdog called OFCOM.

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