Vodafone calls for a consultation on BT’s G.fast deployment plans

16 Nov 2016

British fixed line incumbent BT’s plans to deploy G.fast could be hindered following the revelation that rival Vodafone has written to local telecoms regulator Ofcom to complain that trials of the technology by Openreach constitute a breach of regulation.

With the Financial Times citing a letter it has seen from Matthew Braovac, Vodafone’s head of competition and regulatory affairs, this is said to raise an issue with regulatory undertakings which were tweaked in 2009 to allow BT-owned Openreach to roll out fibre to street cabinets. It is understood that Vodafone is arguing that the 2009 undertakings do not provide BT’s infrastructure unit with a ‘blank cheque’ for all future network deployments, with a Vodafone spokesman quoted as saying: ‘We call on Ofcom to discharge its legal duties and carry out a proper consultation into this issue.’ For its part, an unnamed Openreach spokesman accused its rival of attempting to slow down investment in faster broadband speeds, saying: ‘We are disappointed that Vodafone is trying to delay the roll out of ultrafast broadband to ten million premises. This is an unhelpful move that benefits no one.’ Ofcom meanwhile has acknowledged the matter, with a spokesman adding: ‘We are aware of Vodafone’s concerns and will consider them very carefully.’