Regulatory worries 'holding back broadband'

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MPs Blamed a "lack of confidence" in regulation yesterday for holding back the broadband market in the UK.

A report from the Commons' Trade and Industry Select Committee on the broadband market said telecoms companies and internet service providers, excluding BT, lacked confidence in the regulatory regime. "It is imperative that those looking to invest in the market have confidence in the robustness of the regulatory regime," the report said. "It may be the advent of Ofcom gives the opportunity to re-establish confidence in the regulatory regime where currently it is lacking."

The findings were welcomed by the industry yesterday. The Broadband Industry Group said: "The report confirms what the industry already knows - that the current regime has not delivered, and competition in the wholesale broadband market does not yet exist."

It added: "Ofcom now has a unique opportunity to create a level playing field where true competition is possible.... Without decisive action a true mass market in broadband will remain beyond our grasp."

The report also said BT should not be broken up, despite its "dominant position". Such disruption, it said, "currently outweighs any potential benefits".

BT's chief executive, Ben Verwaayen, said: "BT welcomes the report and, in particular, its focus on the need for regulatory certainty. The UK may be the fastest growing broadband market in Europe but there is a pressing need for a regulatory environment that incentivises even greater investment."