Ofcom faces possible legal challenge over approval of Openreach’s FTTP price cut

22 Nov 2021

A number of the UK’s fixed broadband infrastructure providers, including CityFibre and Gigaclear, are said to be planning to launch a legal challenge against Ofcom’s recent decision on a new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) pricing offer from Openreach. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in September 2021 Ofcom revealed it had decided not to take any action regarding Openreach’s planned ‘Equinox Offer’ pricing plan, which introduced a notable reduction in the cost of its wholesale FTTP products.

According to ISPreview, while ISPs reliant on Openreach’s wholesale offerings were – unsurprisingly perhaps – generally supportive of the new pricing, it prompted far less favourable responses from rival infrastructure providers. A number of ISPs argue that Openreach’s new discounts could ultimately result in a reduction of competitive fibre infrastructure investment, which in turn could lead to higher prices for consumers in the future.

With a deadline to challenge Ofcom’s decision through the Competition Appeals Tribunal expiring at the end of this month, the report suggests several altnets are planning to launch a legal challenge regarding the matter. Although not explicitly confirming such plans, CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch did say his company was ‘considering appropriate next steps’, while Gigaclear’s chief executive Gareth Williams was cited as saying it intended to join proposed legal action launched by a rival provider.