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."
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on pottermore site this morning
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
Life & Style blogs
How to carve a pumpkin for Halloween with this step-by-step tutorial
Five year old British boy becomes youngest ever qualified computer specialist
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
Woman successfully sues Google for showing her with 'part of her breast exposed' on Street View
Sex with more than 20 women 'reduces risk of prostate cancer'
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£24000 - £25000 Per Annum plus company car and commission: Clearwater People S...
£25 - 32k DOE: Guru Careers: A digital-savvy Marketing Account Manager / Clien...
£23-30k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking bright Business Developmen...