BT working on plans for open access to underground ducts

8 Feb 2010

British fixed line incumbent BT is believed to be preparing to open access to its underground ducts, according to the Financial Times. If the action is taken it could see a number of BT’s rivals installing their own fibre-optic cabling in the ducts, effectively allowing them to operate rival high speed broadband networks without facing the cost of digging to lay the cables. BT has claimed that the plans are not a response to recent statements by the Conservative party, which last week said that if it wins the next general election, due by May 2010, it would introduce legislation forcing the telco to open access to its ducts. Ian Livingston, BT’s chief executive, said of the proposals: ‘We told [regulator] Ofcom last year we’re willing to provide open access to our ducts . . . and we are working with them on how to achieve it. Although it’s unlikely to be the silver bullet to get fibre to every home, open access to all ducts, not just ours, might help BT and others extend coverage and so we would like to see a future government support such a move.’

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