Ofcom proposes opening up BT fibre to rivals

Ofcom proposes opening up BT fibre to rivals

Ofcom has proposed opening up BT’s fibre networks to other operators in a bid to promote competition and innovation in the market.

The regulator said the measure would apply to the £2 billion market for ‘leased lines’ – high-speed data links used by businesses as well as mobile and broadband operators – which will give the incumbent’s rivals access to its fibre optic cables.

"To ensure that businesses have effective choice, and to encourage competition and innovation, Ofcom is proposing a new requirement on BT – the largest supplier in the market, upon whose network many competitors' services rely – to supply 'dark fibre' in areas outside central London," Ofcom said.

BT is required to offer wholesale leased line products, which bundle the fibre optic cable and BT’s own network equipment, at regulated prices to competitors.

"The new proposal would go further, allowing operators to use BT’s fibre-optic cables with their own equipment, rather than rely on BT’s,” the watchdog said, adding that the move should increase the opportunity for competitors to create high-capacity data links at cost-effective rices for customers.

The proposals, which are subject to consultation, are part of Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review. In addition, Ofcom is proposing a “new, minimum quality of service performance requirements” on Openreach.

“Ofcom is concerned that Openreach often takes too long to install leased lines, and too often changes the date on which it promises to deliver services,” it said.