Ofcom may step in to set wholesale price for access to BT’s ducts and poles

5 May 2011

The chief executive of the United Kingdom’s telecoms regulator Ofcom has reportedly said that, with fixed line incumbent BT ‘unlikely’ to reach a commercial agreement with alternative operators, it may be necessary to intervene in the matter. According to the Financial Times, Ofcom CEO Ed Richards told members of parliament earlier this week that if no deal had been reached between BT and its rivals regarding the terms of access to the former’s ducts and telegraph poles by June 2010 the watchdog would step in and set the wholesale price itself.

The revelation comes hot on the heels of the announcement last month that Japanese technology firm Fujitsu plans to invest between GBP1.5 billion and GBP2 billion (USD2.4 billion and USD3.3 billion) on the rollout of a fibre network in the UK, with the proposed infrastructure likely to cover some five million rural households, as previously reported by CommsUpdate. However, finalising appropriate financial terms on access to BT’s infrastructure is a condition of Fujitsu’s proposals, and may explain Ofcom’s decision to press for a resolution of the issue.

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