Ofcom to announce guidelines for fairer broadband access this week

15 Nov 2004

The UK’s telecoms watchdog Ofcom will on Thursday unveil new plans to ensure broadband internet access is available to everyone at a reasonable cost. According to the Financial Times, the regulator will foreground the importance of a universal service for high speed internet access to avoid the problem of consumers in rural areas being discriminated against on the grounds of cost. Ofcom is intent on speeding up the process of local loop unbundling (LLU) to give alternative operators more options in rolling out their own networks in order to carry higher volumes of internet traffic, and believes that LLU is crucial in ensuring fair competition in the wholesale broadband segment. Despite its emphasis on LLU, Ofcom is also planning to promote new wireless access technologies as a means of delivering broadband services to more remote areas. It is proposing new rules for spectrum trading to allow wireless capacity to be bought and sold in secondary markets to allow newcomers to set up in competition with BT. Ofcom will, however, stop short of calling for the break-up of the incumbent despite criticisms from BT’s major rivals that its consumer division BT Retail is benefiting unfairly from its close ties to BT Wholesale.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)