With BT having offered to ensure that 99% of the UK’s premises are able to access broadband at downlink speeds of at least 10Mbps by 2020 last month, local telecoms regulator Ofcom has responded by proposing to allow higher wholesale charges, should the telco reach a deal with the government regarding a universal broadband rollout.
As noted by Ofcom in a press release regarding the matter, in March 2017 it published a consultation on proposals made as part of its ongoing wholesale local access market review, with these including plans for charge controls for certain wholesale services. In the wake of BT’s offer to voluntarily roll out universal broadband at speeds of at least 10Mbps, the regulator said that, should the government accept this offer, it expects BT to enter into a ‘clear and public agreement’ with the state. With an eye to such a deal being made, Ofcom’s updated charge control proposals reportedly take into account the additional relevant costs BT would incur, should it commit to making the investment in universal broadband. Specifically, the updated proposals would allow BT to recover ‘relevant efficient costs of this investment through an increase to the charges for broadband lines supplied in the WLA market’.
Feedback regarding the plans is being accepted until 27 September 2017, while Ofcom has said it will take responses to this further consultation into account before reaching a final decision and publishing a statement on the review in early 2018, with any measures expected to take effect from 1 April that year.