Pole position for a super-fast future
The move – which was made possible by an Ofcom decision last October – will enable providers to build their own fibre networks more cost effectively.
It will allow competitors to roll-out super-fast broadband to areas where BT does not plan to deploy its fibre network and to target specific areas earlier than BT’s roll-out.
The decision to open up BT’s ducts and telegraph poles was one of two measures announced by Ofcom last October.
We also said that BT’s fibre lines should be opened up so that rival firms – such as Sky, TalkTalk and others – can provide their own services to consumers.
This is similar to the way that BT’s copper telephone network was opened to rival phone and broadband services.
What is super-fast broadband?
Super-fast, fibre optic broadband has the potential to deliver speeds of 50 to 100Mb/s (megabits per second) and enhance new consumer services such as broadcast quality video services, High Definition and 3D TV and interactive online gaming.
Both measures were designed to build upon competition in the current generation of broadband services while recognising that different areas of the UK require different solutions.
For example, in areas where BT invests in fibre, other providers will be to offer competing services, based on BT’s facilities.
Elsewhere, access to BT’s ducts and poles should encourage investment by other providers, enabling the provision of super-fast services and increasing competition.
The decisions are consistent with the Government’s potential role in encouraging super-fast broadband roll-out.
For example, duct and pole access could extend the reach of services to more remote areas, potentially in combination with public funding at a UK or EU level.
Duct and pole access could also complement Government measures to encourage fibre roll-out by sharing telecoms and other infrastructure.
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