Ofcom’s powers to be reviewed

23 Apr 2009

The Financial Times is reporting that the British government has announced plans to review the powers and duties of the country’s telecoms regulator Ofcom. The move comes as part of a push for proposals that call for all homes to have access to basic broadband connections at speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2012. It is understood that the review could allow Ofcom to persuade BT to expand the reach of its planned GBP1.5 billion (USD3 billion) next generation broadband network. Rumoured changes to the regulator’s powers might enable it to allow BT to recoup some of its fibre investment through wholesale charges, or allow the incumbent to roll out the network faster, free of competition concerns. Government ministers have also reiterated that they expect the universal broadband plans to be financed by a combination of state and industry funding, and could in part be funded by money previously earmarked for a scheme designed to help people switch to digital television; the scheme has reportedly underspent by between GBP200 million and GBP300 million.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Ofcom