Vodafone UK is in talks with BT’s infrastructure division Openreach over the possibility of a joint investment in the rollout of ultrafast fibre-optic broadband services for a number of British cities, according to The Telegraph.
The British broadsheet cites industry sources as saying that the discussions between the two companies are ‘early but serious’, with it claimed that Vodafone could seek upgrades of the Openreach network at major metropolitan areas initially. It has been suggested, however, that regulations faced by Openreach may prove a potential hurdle to a joint investment; with the company required to sell access to its network on equal terms, Vodafone is believed to be seeking a period of exclusivity over any new infrastructure. With a view to resolving such an issue, it is understood that Openreach has already held talks with local telecoms regulator Ofcom to consider how regulations might be relaxed to allow for Vodafone’s investment.
While Vodafone declined to comment on the matter, an Openreach spokesperson was reported as saying: ‘We’ve said before that a new, more independent Openreach is open to co-investment models … We’re currently consulting with all of our wholesale customers on the case for a large-scale ‘full fibre’ broadband network. As part of this we’re asking about their potential interest in different forms of commitment to new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure, including co-investment … As with all our consultation processes, responses are confidential.’