BT has been told by Ofcom that it must open its Openreach cable network up to competitors, so that they can also lay down superfast fibre-optic broadband lines and provide competition to BT, as well as improving internet connections in general.
However, the communications watchdog refrained from ordering BT to split its company up – although it remains a possibility in the future. Instead, Ofcom says the priority is improving the current network structure.
According to the report, Ofcom feels that the findings indicate that “Openreach still has an incentive to make decisions in the interests of BT, rather than BT’s competitors.”
“Openreach must open up its network of telegraph poles and underground tunnels to allow others to build their own, advanced fibre networks, connected directly to homes and offices. This will help create more choice, while reducing the country’s reliance on Openreach,” said Sharon White, of Ofcom.
The change will allow rival companies such as Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone to know much more information about BT’s telegraph poles and ducts, which they would utilise to lay their own networks, although they may be disappointed by the fact that BT has not been ordered to split.
To use BT’s network, these companies have to pay, but they have claimed that BT failed to sufficiently invest in the Openreach network, and as a result many people have poor internet speeds and connections.
“Openreach is already one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the world but we have volunteered to accept tighter regulation,” a spokesperson for BT said.
“We are happy to let other companies use our ducts and poles if they are genuinely keen to invest very large sums as we have done.”