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Ofcom outlines plans to boost fibre build-out

UK media and telecom regulator Ofcom has outlined proposals to give businesses, mobile operators and broadband providers greater access to BT Openreach’s ducts and poles to boost the rollout of fibre.

Ofcom is consulting on proposals to allow access to Openreach’s ducts and poles to companies offering any type of telecoms services including high-speed lines for large businesses, networks carrying data for mobile operators and high capacity lines supporting broadband services.

The regulator said it planned to implement unrestricted duct access from spring 2019.

In practice this will mean that Ofcom will maintain charge controls on BT in areas where prospects for competition are low, as well as imposing quality of service standards.

In arease where there is unlikely to be effective competition even with duct and pole access, the watchdog plans to force BT to give physical access to dark fibre at a price that reflects its costs, enabling rival players to install their own equipment at either end of the optical fibre line.

Ofcom’s current regulations covering leased lines expire in March next year and the regulator is looking to “refresh” its regime as an interim measure ahead of regulating the business and residential markets through a single review from 2021.