British telecoms regulator Ofcom has published its decision not to prevent Openreach, the network unit of BT Group, from introducing its ‘Equinox 2’ pricing offer for full-fibre broadband. According to Ofcom, it had reached its decision following a careful assessment of the available evidence.
In terms of specifics, the watchdog suggested that having considered the impact on consumers it had concluded that Equinox 2 was ‘consistent with promoting investment in gigabit-capable networks by Openreach and other operators and promoting network-based competition, ultimately delivering better consumer outcomes’. Meanwhile, with regards to the possible impact on alternative network providers, Ofcom has claimed that Equinox 2 will result in altnets facing stronger competition from Openreach, but determined that the conditional terms in the offer ‘do not create a potential barrier to using [such providers]’. Further, Ofcom said it considered that ISPs are likely to benefit from network-based competition. Finally, Ofcom said it considered that not preventing Openreach from introducing Equinox 2 will allow the network operator to engage in network-based competition, without compromising the regulator’s objective of promoting investment in gigabit-capable networks.
Ofcom noted: ‘Our overriding objective is to bring better broadband to people across the UK, by promoting competitive investment in high speed networks and making sure there’s a level playing field for all companies … With this in mind, and based on the evidence available to us, we don’t consider Openreach’s new pricing discounts to be anticompetitive.’