BT has got the green light from Ofcom to offer new discounted wholesale fiber pricing to broadband providers after the regulator did not find the move to be anti-competitive.
BT’s network arm, Openreach, recently proposed more competitive prices for retail broadband providers, such as Sky, Vodafone, and TalkTalk. In return, the providers would need to mostly use Openreach’s fiber products for new orders, instead of the legacy copper network.
“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,” Ofcom said in a statement. “We don’t consider Openreach’s new pricing discounts to be anti-competitive.”
Accusations and complaints
Openreach’s offer drew complaints and accusations from the competition, which claimed the deal was trying to choke the market.
A few years back, Openreach announced rolling out full fiber broadband to 26 million homes and businesses by 2026. The BT-owned company wants to complete the switchover from Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to IP by December 2025 so its voice services can compete better with over-the-top (OTT) offerings such as Skype and WhatsApp.
Whereas PSTN requires a complex network of physical lines, IP services only need the Internet to function, meaning communications providers could simply deliver a digital voice service over the top of a more modern broadband system.
In April 2022, it announced hitting “more than a quarter” of its 2026 target, as more than seven million premises got connected to the next-generation network. At the time, the company said it was passing 50,000 properties every single week, laying an estimate 800 meters worth of cable every minute.
Openreach is one of several firms building full fiber infrastructure, including CityFibre and Virgin Media.
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