THE Joint Liaison Group (JLG) is no longer deadlocked on the issuing of three new fixed-line service licences, setting the stage for competition to be introduced into the telecommunications network in July next year as scheduled. The Director-General of Telecommunications, Alexander Arena, said the JLG had made 'good progress' recently although time was running short for newcomers to prepare for the new services. 'Obviously the time is tight. But they [the Chinese side] are doing everything they can and we are doing everything we can,' he said. 'We will make sure there will be competition on July 1 next year. I'm optimistic.' However, Wharf (Holdings) said earlier this month it could not provide local fixed-line telephone services on time as the preparation would take at least one year. Last year, the Government intended to grant licences to Hutchison Whampoa, Wharf and New World Development Co. Speaking after the opening of the Sixth International Audio and Visual Show, Mr Arena assured that public interests would be protected because the Office of Telecommunications Authority was working on amending the telecommunications ordinance to look after both consumer and property equalities. He was confident that the legislation could facilitate the 'interconnection' among competitors, which meant two networks would share facilities in operation. However, he did not specify what the amendments would be.