British telecoms regulator Ofcom has published its decision on regulating wholesale fixed telecoms markets in the Hull Area between 2021 and 2026, setting out how it plans to regulate local incumbent KCOM during this period. With the watchdog noting that the Hull Area accounts for around 0.7% (~200,000) of the UK’s premises, it highlighted the fact that KCOM has a near monopoly at both the wholesale and retail level. As such, following consultation Ofcom said that it had sought to improve regulation to encourage competition in the retail broadband market.
In that vein, as per Ofcom’s decision it said that, in addition to ensuring that competitors will continue to have access to KCOM’s network on fair and reasonable terms, it will facilitate new entrants’ use of KCOM’s network by making improvements to the existing wholesale local access arrangements. Meanwhile, in order to promote access for rival providers to KCOM’s leased lines access services, the regulator has confirmed network providers will be able to lease just the fibre element of a leased line from KCOM. Finally, with a focus on regulating KCOM’s fibre wholesale local access services, KCOM confirmed it has deregulated the legacy wholesale broadband access market as well as fixed voice services.
On the back of its new regulations, which will apply from 1 November 2021, Ofcom has claimed that ‘there is now a better prospect of competing providers entering the Hull Area, which ultimately should result in more retail choice and lower retail prices’.