Watchdog urges BT to open up network to competitors

BT should open up its network of telegraph poles, underground ducts and new fibre lines to competitors under Ofcom plans announced today to promote super-fast broadband in the UK.

The telecoms regulator outlined proposals for BT to allow competitors such as TalkTalk and Sky to have access to its fibre lines that are currently being developed, which Ofcom hopes would speed up the introduction of faster broadband services.

BT should also give other providers physical access to its underground ducts and overhead telegraph poles to lay their own fibre lines after discovering there was a "significant" amount of unused space in its network.

Ofcom found that up to 40% or 50% of BT's duct network had room for new cables, while there was also the potential for wires to be added to its telegraph poles in some areas.

The watchdog is also proposing to slap price controls on BT for broadband access in some areas where it is the only provider via its copper-based wired network.

Ofcom hopes the measure will protect households against uncompetitive pricing after finding around 14% of UK premises only had access to BT broadband services.

The pricing controls would largely impact rural areas where access is often only through BT copper lines.

But these are only related to wholesale costs as BT said it charges retail customers the same price nationwide, regardless of where they live.

Ofcom's plans would allow BT to charge for access to its fibre and physical network without introducing a limit, as it said this would be constrained by the wider competitive market.

BT will have three months from when Ofcom publishes its final report in the autumn to give an idea of how it intends to charge and offer access to its underground ducts.

Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards said: "Super-fast broadband is starting to be a reality in the UK, with very significant advances in recent months in the speeds some providers are offering.

"Ofcom's proposed regulatory framework is intended to support the next phase of development by promoting investment, competition and innovation for consumers across the UK."

BT said it already offered access to its new fibre lines to other providers, but added it was willing to open up its ducts.

The group said: "We agree with Ofcom that there are challenges with such access, but we will work with industry to define a suitable product that meets everyone's needs.

"Duct access is unlikely to be the 'silver bullet' to get fibre to the countryside, but all options should be explored."

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on pottermore site this morning

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Sales Consultant – Permanent – West Sussex – £24-£25k plus commission and other benefits

    £24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...

    Marketing Account Manager / Client Liaison Manager

    £25 - 32k DOE: Guru Careers: A digital-savvy Marketing Account Manager / Clien...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Executive

    £23-30k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking bright Business Developmen...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes