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BT gives thumbs up to Ofcom broadband proposals

Alex Scroxton
Thumbnail image for Cardiff_28.JPGBT has spoken out in favour of Ofcom's proposals to promote competition and investment in super-fast broadband, but has added that it is already working on many of the comms watchdog's ideas.

In a statement released this morning, Ofcom proposed allowing BT's competitors to have access to a dedicated virtual link over new fibre lines laid by BT and physical access to its ducts and overhead infrastructure to allow competitors to lay their own fibre if wanted.

Ofcom claims that surveys of BT's duct network conducted over the past two years have shown up to 50% of sites have room for new cables.

"Super-fast broadband is starting to be a reality in the UK, with very significant advances in recent months in the speeds some providers are offering," said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards. "Ofcom's proposed regulatory framework is intended to support the next phase of development by promoting investment, competition and innovation for consumers."

Responding to Ofcom's announcement, a BT spokesman said: "Openreach has been providing other companies with unbundled access to our fibre for some months now so we welcome Ofcom's view that it provides others with substantial control and so will be the most likely way that fibre will be delivered in the future."

Ofcom also proposed that BT be allowed to set prices for its new wholesale products to enable them to make a fair rate of return, also welcomed by BT but a clause unlikely to be welcomed by many in the industry who claim that the incumbent already sets its prices too high.

This comes just a day after Gordon Brown outlined Labour's plans to promote take-up of super-fast broadband and online public services in the UK, should the government emerge victorious from May's General Election.

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