BT has suggested that other internet service providers will be allowed access to its underground ducts to lay their own fibre-optic cable, heading off any potential complaints by a conservative government.

The opposition party, the Conservatives, had suggested that BT should be forced to open up its network of ducts to other ISPs, but Chief Executive Ian Livingstone insists that access had already been discussed with watchdog Ofcom.

Willing to provide access

"We told Ofcom last year we're willing to provide open access to our ducts... and we are working with them on how to achieve it," said Livingstone.

"Although it's unlikely to be the silver bullet to get fibre to every home, open access to all ducts, not just ours, might help BT and others extend coverage and so we would like to see a future government support such a move."

Use of the ducts would help cut the costs of rivals who currently have to either make their own excavations to lay cable – a crucial part of a next-generation infrastructure.