BT should unbundle its fibre ducts and poles says Ofcom

Ofcom has announced proposals to encourage the rollout of faster broadband across the UK.

Under the proposal, BT competitors such as Sky and TalkTalk would be able to rent a last-mile fibre connection at a price set by BT, in a similar way rival operators can rent last-mile connections on BT's phone network.

BT has already launched its super-fast broadband product and plans to reach 40% of the UK by 2012.

Ofcom is also proposing BT should open up its underground ducts and overhead telegraph poles to third parties, so competitors could build rival fibre networks more cheaply. Virgin Media is already trialling the use of telegraph poles as a way of extending its 50Mbit/s service offer to an additional one million more homes.

The regulator has concluded that broadband competition is effective for more than 70% of the population and so no regulation will be necessary in thee areas where they live. In less competitive areas where consumers only have access to copper-based broadband services from BT, Ofcom is proposing some location-specific regulation to protect consumers from excessive prices.

Ed Richard, chief executive of Ofcom, 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 regulations provide a framework for continued investment, to deliver further roll-out, competition and innovation for consumers."

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