Ofcom gives BT free hand on pricing high-speed broadband

UK regulator Ofcom has BT will be free to set is own wholesale prices on its planned high-speed fiber broadband network.
In a decision seen as a victory for the incumbent, Ofcom said it would introduce a light-touch regulatory regime for the national broadband project.

"We will allow wholesale pricing flexibility to enable returns appropriate to the considerable risks of building new networks, but constrained by the market in the interests of customers," it said.

Ofcom said it would not rule out some constraints on prices, but would "ensure that any regulatory pricing allows investors the opportunity to earn a rate of return that genuinely reflects the cost of deployment and the associated level of risk."

"Our message today is clear: there are no regulatory barriers in the way of investment in super-fast broadband; we want to promote investment but also ensure that there is fair and effective competition for the future," said Ofcom chief Ed Richards.

BT intends to spend £1.5 billion ($2.1 billion) to roll out a national fiber broadband network combining FTTH and FTTC. It will be a key component of the UK government's project to give homes access to broadband speeds up to ten-times faster than they are now.