Regulator tells BT to open up cable network

February 25th, 2016 by Mark Daly in Industry News No Comments »
Regulator tells BT to open up cable network ilicomm Technology Solutions

Communications regulator, Ofcom has told BT to open up its cable network, allowing competitors to connect the internet to homes and offices.

Ofcom also says that the country is suffering from a digital divide between those who have the latest technologies, and those who do not.

It has proposed that decent, affordable broadband should be a universal right.

It has so far stopped short of demanding a complete break-up of BT, but said this was still an option.

Rivals had called for a split between BT and its Openreach operation, which runs its cables, fibre and network infrastructure.

But BT will be told to allow easier access for rivals to lay their own fibre cables along Openreach’s telegraph poles and in its underground cable ducts.

Ofcom also says it intends to introduce tougher rules on BT’s faults, repairs and installations.

It says Openreach should be governed at arm’s length from BT, with greater independence in taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy. It adds that a complete split between Openreach and BT “remains an option”.

The Chief Executive of Ofcom, Sharon White told the BBC: “Openreach does need major reform and the key thing is that it’s independent so that it responds to all its customers, not just BT.

“If we cannot get the responsiveness to customers that we’re seeking, then … we reserve the right, formally, to separate [BT and Openreach].”

Social exclusion

The report also says the surge in data speeds has led to a “digital divide” between those who have the fastest internet access and those who are left behind.

It says: “As the world goes increasingly online, those left behind risk social and economic exclusion. We have found that people who are left behind are usually less well-off or living in vulnerable circumstances.”

“2.4 million households and small businesses (around 8% of all UK premises) cannot yet access a decent broadband speed of 10Mbits per second,” the report said.

The report, Making Communications Work for Everyone, says: “We will work with the UK Government to make decent, affordable broadband a universal right for every home and small business in the UK.

“The universal right should start off at 10Mbits per second for everyone, and then rise in line with customer demand over time.”


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