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Ofcom’s plans for the wholesale market

Ofcom says it is proceeding to force a legal separation of Openreach from BT, “after BT failed to offer voluntary proposals that address our competition concerns”. Openreach is the division of BT Group that develops and maintains the UK’s main telecoms network. “Our proposal requires Openreach to become a distinct company with its own board. This would comprise a majority of non-executive directors, including the chair, who are not affiliated with BT. Openreach would be guaranteed greater independence to make decisions on strategic investments, with a duty to treat all of its customers equally.” Ofcom also plans to make it quicker and easier for rival providers to build their own fibre networks direct to homes and offices using BT’s existing telegraph poles and ducts, and is consulting on how the wholesale local access (WLA) market can be reformed. Says Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s competition policy director: “We’re explaining how access to BT’s tunnels and poles could be improved, allowing other providers to connect ultrafast, fibre broadband directly to UK homes and offices. Our plans will give providers increased confidence to invest in their own full-fibre networks at reduced cost.” Other countries have seen duct and pole access used to extend fibre to people’s doorsteps. In Spain and Portugal, the resulting competition has helped deliver full-fibre broadband coverage of 79% and 70% respectively. This compares with around 2% currently in the UK. Links: Openreach reform,  ‘Ducts and poles’Wholesale consultation

  • Friday, 09 December 2016

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