BT backed by Ofcom for new wholesale broadband pricing

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solo25 May 2023Last Update : 6 days ago
BT backed by Ofcom for new wholesale broadband pricing

Telecoms watchdog found the proposals were not anti-competitive, giving BT the all-clear to roll out its subsidized wholesale full-fibre offer to broadband providers.

BT’s networks arm Openreach, which runs the UK’s sole national broadband network, put forward plans for a pricing deal that would pass on lower prices to bulk customers such as Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone.

But this was only if they agreed to primarily use Openreach’s full-fiber products for the new order, rather than the older copper products.

The plans – called Equinox 2 – were criticized by BT’s competitors, such as Virgin Media’s O2.

An Ofcom spokesman said: “Our key objective is to bring better broadband to people across the UK by promoting competitive investment in high-speed networks and ensuring a level playing field for all companies.

“With this in mind, and based on the evidence available to us, we do not consider OpenReach’s new pricing discount to be anti-competitive.”

It said it has taken into account the impact of the pricing plans on consumers, rival broadband providers and so-called altnets – which are the new fiber producers.

Ofcom said that by not blocking the plans, BT was able to “engage in network-based competition without compromising our aim of promoting investment in gigabit-capable networks”.

OpenReach has also promised not to change its pricing under the plans until at least March 31, 2026, according to Ocom.

Katie Milligan, chief commercial officer at Openreach, said: “This is great news for customers as it means lower prices and longer term certainty – encouraging the switch to faster, more reliable broadband connections.

“It is also good news for the UK, as it supports our continued multi-billion pound investment in upgrading the country’s broadband infrastructure.”

But the pricing deal has raised concerns among some rivals about OpenReach’s move to discuss and develop discounts with retail providers.

Ofcom said, “After carefully assessing the information received from providers and alternativenets, we have no concerns that further investigation is needed at this time.”

Ofcom had delayed its final decision due in March, which pushed back Openreach’s plan to launch the new pricing structure on 1 April.

Ofcom said at the time of postponing the decision that it was concerned by comments made by BT boss Philip Jansen in a newspaper report that its OpenReach fiber rollout would “end in tears” for rivals, and that it would take reactions into account. Requires more time to store. To check it.

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