British telecoms regulator Ofcom has proposed the creation of conditions designed to ‘improve retail competition in the fixed telecoms markets in the Hull Area, through [its] wholesale regulation of KCOM’.
In launching a consultation on its plans, the watchdog said that it was looking to focus its regulation on encouraging competing providers to enter the market. To that end, Ofcom’s consultation has set out its proposals for regulation of the wholesale local access and wholesale leased lines access services markets in the Hull Area from April 2021, while it also sets out how it plans to deregulate the wholesale broadband access and fixed voice markets.
In its consultation documents, Ofcom said that it proposed finding that KCOM has market power in local access and leased lines access services, saying it would address that market power ‘by regulating in a way that supports competition and investment, and protects customers’. Specifically, the watchdog has said it aims to encourage competition in the retail market by ensuring that competitors will continue to have access to KCOM’s network on fair and reasonable terms, while also proposing to facilitate new entrants’ use of KCOM’s network by making improvements to the existing wholesale local access arrangements. Ofcom is also proposing that network providers should be able to lease from KCOM just the fibre element of a ‘leased line’.
Meanwhile, given what it said was an increased focus on regulating KCOM’s fibre wholesale local access services, Ofcom aims to deregulate both the wholesale broadband access market and fixed voice telephone services. The regulator has claimed that improving access to KCOM’s fibre network will mean more companies can provide such services in the Hull Area, and as such its existing regulation would no longer be required.
Responses to the consultation are being sought by a 24 September deadline, following which Ofcom has said it will publish a statement setting out its final decisions before the new regulation takes effect from April 2021.