Regulator tells BT to open up cable network
Communications regulator, Ofcom has told BT to open up its cable network, so competitors can better connect the internet to homes and offices.
Ofcom says that BT’s Openreach operation needs to change and take its own decisions on budget and strategy.
Openreach provides and maintains the network in what’s known as the “final mile” into consumers’ homes.
However it has stopped short of a complete break-up of BT as had been demanded by many of BT’s rivals.
Ofcom also says it intends to introduce tougher rules on faults, repairs and installations.
BT will be told to open up its network, allowing easier access for rivals to lay their own fibre cables along BT’s telegraph poles and in its underground cable ducts.
The report says the surge in data speeds has led to a “digital divide” between those who have access to the latest technologies, and those who do not.
It says: “As the world goes increasingly online, those left behind risk social and economic exclusion. We have found that people who are left behind are usually less well-off or living in vulnerable circumstances.”
“2.4 million households and small businesses (around 8% of all UK premises) cannot yet access a decent broadband speed of 10Mbits per second,” the report said.
The report, Making Communications Work for Everyone, says: “We will work with the UK Government to make decent, affordable broadband a universal right for every home and small business in the UK.
“The universal right should start off at 10Mbits per second for everyone, and then rise in line with customer demand over time.”