Openreach, the network arm of British fixed line incumbent BT, has announced it will voluntarily reduce the price of the full LLU (MPF SML1) service from next month. In a press release confirming its intention, the company noted that the charge for the service will fall to GBP84.4 (USD108) per year from 1 July 2017, from its current level of GBP85.3 per year. This revised charge will remain in place until regulator Ofcom’s next Wholesale Local Access (WLA) charge control comes into force, which is expected to take place on 1 April 2018.
In a letter to Ofcom regarding the price reduction, Openreach said: ‘We believe this voluntary commitment will give stakeholders certainty during the interim period until the new prices come into force … This commitment is given in good faith and as a gesture of goodwill, and does not affect our position that the current MPF SML1 price … falls within the ‘fair and reasonable’ range.’
Charge controls set in Ofcom’s 2014 Fixed Access Market Reviews expired on 31 March 2017, and the watchdog is currently consulting on new controls as part of its WLA market review. In response to Openreach opting to reduce its price, meanwhile, Ofcom said it no longer believed it was ‘necessary or proportionate to exercise [its] direction making powers to specify the fair and reasonable charge’, adding: ‘Openreach’s commitment achieves the same outcome as we proposed in our consultation but brings certainty and clarity to stakeholders at an earlier stage without the need for regulatory intervention.’