Ofcom said that BT should allow rivals access to its newly laid fibre network and supporting infrastructure

UK communications regulator Ofcom said this week that BT should allow rivals access to its newly laid fibre network and supporting infrastructure, promoting increased competition in the superfast broadband sector. Cable carrying rival Virgin Media has jumped all over this one, announcing plans to expand its own fibre network across BT’s footprint.

Virgin has been trialling the use of telegraph poles to help extend its fibre deployment in the UK. The new rules from Ofcom would force BT to allow access to the underground ducts and telegraph poles, giving rivals the opportunity to deploy fibre before BT does and to target areas BT does not intend to deploy fibre in.

Another decision forces BT to give competitors access to dedicated virtual links over fibre (virtual unbundling) to further promote competition.

BT has launched its super-fast broadband product and plans to cover 66 per cent of the UK by 2015 and Virgin Media has rolled out 50Mbps to 49 per cent of households and is due to launch its 100Mbps service soon.


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  • Ofcom’s announcement should be welcomed by small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the UK and offers much more than just an opportunity for the telecoms industry. Better access to fibre broadband is vital in supporting the needs of all British SMEs and super-fast fibre connections are now no longer the preserve of large corporations with hundreds of employees and big budgets. The increased upload and download bandwidth of fibre allows businesses to step up and work in more innovative and creative ways and as an increasing number of SMEs continue to embrace the cloud (our recent research shows that more than half plan to switch their core applications to cloud systems in the next year), fast and reliable internet connections are more important than ever.

    As the UK leans on the private sector to help tackle its debt crisis, the country needs to do all it can to bring greater efficiency and innovation to its businesses. This latest decision by Ofcom is a significant step in improving the landscape for those businesses.

    Reply to Andrew Sumner, Sales and Marketing Director at Easynet Connect on More competition in UK superfast broadband space
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