Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

Ofcom unveils detailed plan to share BT's ducts and poles for broadband

Ofcom unveils detailed plan to share BT's ducts and poles for broadband

The Office of Communications, commonly know as Ofcom, said the plan would make it easier for competitors to access BT's existing telegraph poles, ducts and underground tunnels that carry telecoms cables.

Final connections into homes: BT should ensure capacity is available on its telegraph poles for additional fibre cables that connect buildings to a competitor's network.

Openreach has to continue to develop a "digital map" of its duct and pole network so competitors can plan new networks.

"We want everyone in the United Kingdom to have access to fast, reliable, and affordable broadband, and Ofcom's proposals are good news for consumers, businesses, and the country".

Commenting on the announcement, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at broadband advice site Cable.co.uk, said:"While it is unlikely that BT's primary competitors will want to use Openreach's poles and ducts to launch their own nationwide networks - the cost of such an undertaking would be gargantuan - improved access does invite greater competition from smaller providers whose goal it is to serve a specific region or locale".

BT's last-mile wholesale network subsidiary, Openreach, will have to adopt the new rules from 1 April 2018, said Ofcom.

Ofcom hopes that these measures will increase the confidence of ISPs looking to deploy a full-fibre network in the UK-and then, when BT's competitors start rolling out fibre, the magical force of competition will kick in and those stressed and sweaty copper wires can finally take a much-needed break.

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Reusing ducts can significantly reduced the time required to roll out a new network.

But Ofcom wants to reduce the UK's reliance on Openreach and encourage the rollout of fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband.

United Kingdom regulator Ofcom is preparing to open up British Telecom's ducts and poles so that rival broadband suppliers can lay fiber cheaply. The consultation concerns Openreach's duct and pole access product, known as physical infrastructure access (PIA) and builds on one held earlier. While it can take days to build 200 meter of duct using traditional construction methods, fibre cables could be installed in the same length of existing duct in a matter of hours.

United Kingdom regulator Ofcom has unveiled plans to improve access to BT Openreach's infrastructure by giving competitors access to underground tunnels and telegraph poles.

It has also suggested that CSPs should be allowed to use the Openreach infrastructure to provide business leased line services, which can help fund their own fibre deployment and strengthen the business case for doing so. But begs to differ on major providers utilising Openreach's poles and ducts.

Ofcom recognised the importance of ducting early on in the rollout of fibre in the United Kingdom, and in 2010 the regulator forced BT to open up its ducting so that rival ISPs could lay their own fibre connections.

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