UK Telecoms Regulator Ofcom Pushes BT to Open Up Dark Fiber to Competitive Providers

UK Telecoms Regulator Ofcom Pushes BT to Open Up Dark Fiber to Competitive Providers Image Credit: BT

UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom is proposing BT to open up the access to its nationwide 'Dark Fiber' infrastructure to allow competing operators such as Virgin, TalkTalk, and Vodafone to take direct control of the connection and power their connectivity using their own equipment instead of being dependent of the service provided by BT.

The proposal that is aimed at improving competition in high-speed data links for large businesses and mobile and broadband companies covers all parts of the UK except central London (including the City of London and Docklands) - where there is sufficient competition in the market - and Hull, where most leased lines are provided by Kcom rather than BT. 

Ofcom will close the public consultation on the matter on the 31st July 2015 and expects to publish its final decisions in the first quarter of 2016 which will then take effect in April 2016. As part of the dark fiber proposal, Ofcom would require BT to publish a draft ‘reference offer’ for the industry, containing wholesale pricing and terms for access. 

According to Ofcom, the measure which is part of its Business Connectivity Market Review, is designed to promote competition and innovation in the £2bn market for ‘leased lines'. At present, 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. 

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom Competition Group Director
High-speed, fibre optic leased lines are invisible to most people. But they form a critical building block in the UK’s infrastructure that underpins people’s personal and working lives. Today’s proposals should help businesses across the UK who rely on high-speed data lines. We want to see more innovation, faster installations and more competition, by providing operators with the opportunity to deploy the technologies of their choice.

Ray is a news editor at The Fast Mode, bringing with him more than 10 years of experience in the wireless industry.

For tips and feedback, email Ray at ray.sharma(at)thefastmode.com, or reach him on LinkedIn @raysharma10, Facebook @1RaySharma

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